Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ P61 (08-01-22)
What is the Church? Where is the Body of Christ Today?
~ It is vitally important that we understand where the Body of Christ Jesus is today. Many Christians live their lives as though they don’t have a clue who they are in Christ Jesus. They don’t know that they are part of the body of Christ today and this very moment in time. They are called the called out ones. The ecclesia is a Greek word meaning a called-out assembly or called out ones of people. It’s also important to understand that “church” is not a building on the corner of walk and don’t walk. Listen in as Bob explains in detail the very practical meaning of the ecclesia word.
Listen in to today’s lesson with more in-depth teaching, from the Bible study booklet, A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ, available for purchase from our online Bob George Ministries ecommerce store.
Just as a person’s physical growth is based on proper diet and exercise, so is the Christians’s spiritual growth dependent on regular feeding upon the word of God and application of its principles. With more false teaching, shifting opinions and general confusion in the world than ever before, Christians need a solid foundation upon which to base their beliefs and build their lives. The word of God declares that Jesus Christ is that foundation of truth. With that in mind, let’s now take A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ.
Well, if are those of you that have our Classic Christianity study series, the book is entitled A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ, if you will turn to page 61, which is chapter 10. Why we’re going to begin with this study. Now, when we’re going to end with that study, why the Lord only knows. There’s a mystery, but we are going to begin at least with chapter 10.
Well, but the subject that we’re going to be discussing today is a vitally important subject, because it’s dealing with the fact the subject that you are a part of the body of Christ. Now, folks, this is what the Word of God, not tradition calls the ecclesia. That is the Greek word the ecclesia. And that Greek word Ecclesia means the called out ones. The terminology was taken from a tradition in Jewish culture, whereby when there was a, a vote on something to be to be taken a vote why they would go outside of the city and line up on both sides, and the ones that shouted the loudest won the vote, they were the called out ones, they were called out to vote on an issue. Your senators or your congressmen would be in our country called out ones, ones who are called out to, to literally make the laws that affect all of us. Sure. And unfortunately, there’s too many of them on the books, but but the fact of the matter is that they are called out for that purpose. There is a sense in which your police force are called out of an ecclesia. They’re called out ones for up to for police enforcement and for law enforcement. So the word Ecclesia was not a religious word necessarily, it had a connotation to it, of being called out. Now, folks, at the very moment of your spiritual birth, and we have to, again, get back to looking at things from God’s vantage point, instead of man’s vantage point. From a man’s vantage point, you can go over and join a church on the corner of walk and don’t walk and people will call you a Christian say, especially if there’s a cross on the top of it. And so we so that’s a Christian church in comparison to a Buddhist temple, or a Muslim temple or, or a Jewish synagogue. So all of those buildings have, have come to be known as a as a church. And so we say I belong to a church. And what that means is, I belong to that building over there, that’s mine. And folks, nothing could be farther from the truth in regard to what it means to be in Christ from God’s vantage point. Being in Christ from God’s vantage point has nothing to do with being in a building that it certainly has nothing to do with being in a building with a specific group of people with a new label on you. Where this book is about identity, what is your identity? Think about that for a moment. I have people and I’ve known people who stood up and say, Man, I am so Baptist, if someone punched me with a knife, I believe baptism, I thought it was so if you look like one. And you got people say I’m Catholic boy, I’ll be Catholic till I die or I’m Methodist, or I’m Presbyterian. We, you say where did you find that label? Did you go into the Bible and find that label there in a label like that in the Word of God? Those are all man made terminologies.
But you see, there’s such a desire in the heart of every human being to be a part of something, to fit in to some group to belong to something this sense of belonging is what motivates people to join country clubs and the Kiwanis Club and the Rotary Club and college fraternities and sororities. Man, when I was in college, I wanted to be a part of this fraternity. So I could say I’m a Sigma Chi, or I’m a beta or gamma, whatever else it might be, see, and boy, yeah, and that’s supposed to mean something. Sure. And you say that very proudly to because if we are the best, and every fraternity and sorority thinks we are the best, whoever gauges that God only knows, but we are the best. And we have that sense, don’t we, we want to belong to something and of course, the bigger and and the more wealthy the better. And man, because I have to live in a in a $30,000 home, you know, a person sitting there saying, but man, if I can go to a $10 million church, ooh, that makes me feel wealthy, and it makes me feel important. And Bob, all of those things are a part of this empty human experience that we have down here when that need for belonging has not been met. In Christ Jesus, the only person that God ever intended for us to belong to, in that sense, where the two of us have become as what? Well as one. And the only other relationship that I see in the Bible where that is true as man and wife, where the two of you have become, as one, it’s a part of identification. So as a part of our inheritance and identity in Christ, God is the one who meets that need to belong to something.
So our faith in Jesus Christ, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, at that very moment that Christ comes to live within you, we’re told that we are baptized, placed into the Body of Christ. And so he is our head, and we are a part of the body. Now, a body is not an organization, you know, you don’t, I don’t have a membership that I belong to with me, I have a head. And I have a body that is made up of numerous parts. And though its parts are many, they form one body, and every part has a different function to it. And yet, there’s unity, in the midst of that unbelievable diversity, because every member of my body is plugged into my head. And my head keeps unity in the midst of my diversity. So when we are not plugged into the head, and if this body of mine is not plugged into my head, I become a spastic. And quite frankly, that’s what the Church of Christ looks like today, a spastic, where instead of us being plugged into the head, we’re plugged into each other. And it’s like a, it’s like the two hands and fingers meeting together and wiggling and trying to determine what the thumbs ought to be doing on behalf of the hand. And you say, well, that that is stupid, that didn’t make any sense to say, what do you think we’re doing as the so called body of Jesus Christ?
Again, the body, there is a picture of that that, of course, is in the Scripture. And we’re gonna go to 1st Corinthians 12:27, where it states that it says you are nor now you are the body of Christ. And each one of you is a part of it. Now, so you see, my friends, if you’re in Christ, now, I’m not talking about a church member, that has nothing to do with being in Christ. You can be a church member, and not know the Lord from a spook. But if you are in Christ born again, then you are automatically a part of Christ Church, you see, and Christ isn’t a part of these denominations that we have out there. He didn’t join any of them. He’s just joined the people, not to organizations. And so we keep saying, Well, God’s blessing my organization, I’m sorry, God didn’t bless organizations. He blesses people. Well, God curses that org No, God doesn’t curse organizations, he, if there’s a curse, it would be people. You know, organizations aren’t dead spiritually. It’s a little hard to kill an organization’s. So you see, we have to understand that friends that we’re talking about an individual relationship with the living Christ. And so if I am in Christ, Jesus born again, and therefore Christ is living in me, and he has baptized placed identified me in his body. And Bob, you are in Christ and Christ is in you and you’re a part of his body, then that means something very simply that we belong to Christ, both of us and we belong to one another. It would be like if you were my right hand And I in my left hand, why we would look at each other and say, well, we belong to the same head. We belong to the same body. And we belong to one another. Wouldn’t we? It’s as simple as can be. And but that is only true if we are born again.
Now, if I was sitting here next to a religionist, somebody who was just religion, religious, and my friends, I, I have to get back to this subject before I proceed with this with what I’m getting ready to say. I, and we’re forgetting this, I think the longer we’re in Christ, the longer we forget what it is to be lost. My friends, I set in a church for 36 years of my life. I never heard that I was necessarily a sinner, if I was my good deeds would certainly outweigh the bad ones. I certainly did not know necessarily that Christ came to die for my sins and was raised to give me life I had no clue that I was dead. I never heard anything like that. The church that I was in, had a cross on top of it. I had a minister that wore a robe. So I looked holy. We had Choir I sang in them. What did you sing? What Christian songs the old rugged cross, up from the grave, He arose on Easter, get teary. I was constantly getting teary and emotional over the things of God. I can remember as a kid laying in the living room at Christmas time listening to her big old radios that we used to have back in those days. And, and sitting there just crying, listening to Christmas songs and Easter songs. Oh, and the fact that your heart was not tender toward the things of God. Nobody ever told me. I could know him personally. So I knew about Jesus. But I didn’t know Jesus. And my friends in the church that I grew up in and in the denomination I grew up in, I’m not saying that every assembly is like that, because it totally is predicated on whether the pastor is born again or not. And some people look wide eyed and say, Well, what do you mean pastor born again? Listen, the majority of pastors and liberal denominations are not born again. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be liberal. So you’re gonna have to come to grips with those things. So if I’m not born again, how am I going to teach you you were born again? Well, the church that I was in as an adult that I ultimately was in when I became a Christian didn’t become a Christian in that church or as a result of the teaching in the church. I was just going to it when I was led to the Lord through another source. But the pastor that was there at that time, came to the Lord about five years later. So he was not saved. The interim pastor that came in was not saved. I asked him one time about the deity of Christ, he got mad as a hornet. So So there’s, there’s nothing unusual about that, in especially in this day and age. So we have to come to grips with the fact, my friends that we’re talking about being born again, we’re talking about not belonging to a church, but BORN AGAIN belonging to Jesus. So can you sit in a church or in a church building, what we call a church, a church building, and never hear the gospel and never respond to the gospel? Absolutely. Without question.
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One of the larger, I guess it was the largest church of its denomination, that’s a very Evan evangelical denomination that I was a part of, that heard the pastor state one time that probably 50% of the people that are coming to this church are not saved. And that, you know, I have no way of knowing that. Pastor really doesn’t have any way of truly knowing that outside of experience many times bears that out. Can you work in full time Christian work and not be saved? Of course you can. Martin Luther was a priest. He became saved when he understood justification by faith. You can’t be saved thinking you’re justified in believing that you’re justified by works. No man is justified by works of the law though scripture says only by faith in Jesus. So he became saved later that you know. So you can be all kinds of things, you can be high up in ecumenical circles, and not have a personal relationship with the living Lord. I remember but my early days, and these things were not shocking to me when I came to Christ because I said, I grew up in a denomination where I’d never heard heard the gospel. But I was in a ecumenical meeting when I was, I think, was the year that I went into full time work. And I was working with all different denominations within, in the community to try and to get them to develop something for helping kids on drugs. And I was very active in that at that time. And so in this group, were people of all denominations. And we met for breakfast and I know the guy that was ahead of the council of churches there in that area. So he got up and he was all dressed to kill and his ecumenical clothing. And somebody said well before breakfast he somebody said Don’t you think we ought to have a prayer? And he kind of looked a little shocked said Well, yes, I I suppose we should do that and he started with his finger pointing at anybody know a prayer is anybody know a prayer out there? And finally somebody knew one and and and prayed and I sat there and thought to myself, Man alive. No reality, no being able to know a prayer, I don’t need to know a prayer prayer is a is an overflow of what you know inside. Do you know the Lord? If you know the Lord way, you’re gonna know what to pray about. So it’s, it’s one of those things that that we just have to come to grips with the fact that all the glitters is not gold.
And so when we’re talking about being a part of the body of Christ, we are not in any way shape, or form talking again, about an organization because an organization could have 20% people in it, who really are saved and 80%, or are 50 50, 80 20, it doesn’t make any difference. You cannot preach to that organization, as a saved organization. Because there is no such thing, just people, just people.
Now, with that, when you come to Christ, therefore, by faith, if you’ll turn to 1st Corinthians 12:12 and 13, you’re going to see that the body is a unit. Now there again, it take a look at your own physical body, it’s a unit, and though it’s made up of many parts, and though all of its parts are many, they form one body that says so it is with Christ. For we were all Now who’s the we? those who have come to Christ by faith in His substitutionary death for them, His resurrected life in them. In order to do that, seeing my own sinfulness, my need for total forgiveness, seeing my spiritual death, absolutely no way for a dead man to make himself acceptable in the sight of God. There is nothing I can do come to the end of my own resources, and to say, Lord Jesus, if you don’t say me, I’m not going to be saved. In other words, Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner. Now, that’s who the we is. Now, for we those people were all baptized placed by one Spirit, you weren’t baptized by a minister. That doesn’t have anything to do with being dunked in water. We were all baptized by one spirit. That’s the Holy Spirit of God into one body, that’s Jesus and you’re not having somebody placing you into water you’re being placed into his body. Now, water baptism, submersion baptism is a visual picture of that, which is a visual aid that God gave us. That literally enable our feeble minds to see what has been done for us spiritually. But that water has never saved anybody in their lives. It is merely a picture of what we’re talking about here. And that is the baptism, baptism, by the Spirit of God, not in the spirit. We’ve got people walking around saying, Now if you’ve been baptized in the spirit, and nobody’s ever been baptized in the spirit, you’re baptized by the Spirit into one body, that’s the Body of Christ. Now, who are the people that are in the Body of Christ? Well, it says whether Hebrews or Greeks, or in other words, Gentile, or slaves are free. And we were all given that one Spirit to drink. In other words, to partake of to be refreshed by.
Now, what does that mean? Well, in the early days of Christendom where the gospel went to the Hebrews, the Hebrews thought that only we do Hebrews are going to be saved, not only would have I accepted the Messiah, but the reason I accepted the Messiah, because it was in my inheritance. I mean, my people told me he was going to come and I believed it. And sure enough, I’m born again a Hebrew. But those Gentiles over there, nobody ever told them about the coming Messiah. And so they can never be saved. And that was the mindset of the Hebrew in those days is that guy, Gentile could never be saved. Well, that is obviously not true. And so the Gentile became saved the same way that the Hebrew, by what? justification by faith, no difference, not by physical makeup, not by being a Hebrew, not by being a Gentile, but by being born again, as a child of God.
As we are studying through this, study together, I have no intention of doing anything except reading out of the Word of God and letting the Word of God speak to our own individual hearts on this. Folks, let me say this, that in what I was taught, and some of the things that I was taught in my early days, as a Christian, hopefully, an awful lot of it was taught to me by the Spirit of God, and I believe that was certainly true. I also had things that were taught to me by man that I later found out was not true. And as the Spirit of God revealed that to me, I had a choice to make, am I going to hang on to my tradition? Or am I going to hang on to my to the information that was given to me by an organization because my identities in that organization, if I ever said they were wrong, why then then I’m, then I’m identified with someone who’s teaching err, and boy, God forbid, I’d ever be identified with that. So you got a lot of pride connected with all of these things, my friends, and you’ve got all kinds of things that are keeping you and not the least of which is Satan himself of keeping you and me from coming to truth. And so I don’t want you any more than with me to be in a situation where our pride prohibits us from looking to see what the Scripture says, and then matching that up to what we have been told or taught by other sources. And you have to match it up. If the word of God is not our plumb line, what is our plumb line? What is your plumb line, if it’s not the word of God? There is no experience no experiment that you and I ever took in, in chemistry class, and most of us who had to go to school had to take chemistry. But you cannot have an experiment, without a constant. You cannot come to a conclusion with variables, you must bounce the variables off of the constant. Well, in life ourselves apart from God, there are no constants, we’re just a bundle of variables, all of us, that’s why we can’t figure each other out is because we’re all variables. And if we don’t have a constant in our life, this experiment called Life is going to be a total failure. So you have to have a constant and the word of God has to be our standard of truth.
My standard of truth is not in what Freud said, or Skinner or some counselor, my standard of truth has to be in the Word of God. And if what is told to me by a psychiatrist or a counselor, or a theologian, or radio Minister does not match up to the Word of God, I’m gonna pitch it and throw it away. Because it cannot be truth if it doesn’t match up to the Word of God. So when we’re talking about these things, friends, believe me, I’m not coming from a denominational persuasion because I’m not a denominationalist. Neither am I coming from this with a prejudice toward Pentecostal or neo pentecostal or, or Catholics or Baptists or anything else. I don’t have any prejudice in one way or another, because I’m not looking at those organizations as having much meaning to them anyway. What’s important is, are you in Christ, or aren’t you. There’s not going to be any Methodists and Presbyterians in heaven, just redeemed sinners. And so I’m not going to look at that present in a prejudiced way. So but I am going to look at it from what the Word of God has to say.
Now, it says that the body is a unit and though it’s made up of many parts, and though its parts are many, and they form one body, and this ties in explicitly, my friends with this statement with these statements of Jesus, if again, you were to look for the body of Christ 2000 years ago, you would have had to have traveled to Israel and looked up a man by the name of Jesus of Nazareth and there you would have found the body of Christ, one singular body in form, the body of Christ, there weren’t any more bodies of Christ, that was it one. Now that body of Christ said to his apostles, it’s good for you that I’m going away. For when I do then, I’m going to send the Holy Spirit to you, and you are going to be my body. In other words, once again, never since Adam, and Jesus, Adam being the first Adam, Jesus called the last Adam, the only two men on the earth, Adam, being the only man ever created alive spiritually, and then died. And Jesus, the only man ever born alive spiritually, who sacrifice that life on our behalf at the cross. Now that Jesus said, It is good for you, people that I’m going away from when I do, I’m going to send my Spirit to live inside of you. And you are going to be my body here on this earth. In other words, Jesus of Nazareth, in singular form, is going away. And at his ascension, he departed into the clouds in bodily form. And he says, When I returned, I’m coming back the same way I went, so he’s going to come back in bodily form. In the meantime, the body of Christ is no longer in singular form, in the person of Christ, Jesus in the man, Christ Jesus, but the body of Christ is us. The Spirit of God has at Pentecost came to indwell inside of men. Now prior to that time, the Holy Spirit of God came upon people and then departed from people. That’s why David prayed, Lord, please don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. That’d be idiotic to pray that today because God told us that I will never leave you nor forsake you. In other words, your Spirit will never leave you again. Because that’s what life is.
Thank you so much for tuning in to Classic Christianity, with Bob George. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s program. We truly hope that today’s message has inspired you to walk a life of faith in the Lord, find more information online at shop.BobGeorge.net. There you’ll also find available CDs, DVDs, and bible studies available for purchase. It’s through your help that we are able to spread the good word of Jesus Christ. Until next time, walk in faith, be good to one another and praise the Lord. Amen.
Stand on the firmness of truth. Don’t keep going back and forth. Thank Him that the forgiveness issue is settled.
Let’s pray together:
- Lord Jesus,
- I thank you for taking away my sins on the cross,
- never ever to see them again.
- Having done that, I now thank you for giving me eternal life,
- through your resurrection.
- I now receive that life.
- And I am going stand in the fact that I am a child of the living God.
- In Jesus Holy name I pray.
All believers are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
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