As an individual, are you the body of Christ?
No. As an individual member, you cannot be the body.
The body is composed of living members which are connected in an orderly fashion according to God’s design.
An individual cannot be the body.
When an individual takes on a spirit of preeminence, he begins to think that he is the body and in need of no other. An independent attitude, that begins to influence you to think that you have no need of the other members of the body, will cause division. God hates divorce and division and so do His children.
1 Corinthians 12:12-1412 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
“THE BODY IS NOT ONE MEMBER, BUT MANY.”
The only way we can be the body is through the UNITY of the members.
The members of the body must be united and working in harmony for the good and benefit of the body. The members must have a strong loving care for each other.
If the members are divided from each other, they will perish and die.
God will not put His glory, His power and His approval upon a fragmented congregation. The church is not me and it is not you. It is us, who by the grace of the indwelling Holy Ghost, have unity and fellowship with one another. You cannot achieve this spirit filled fellowship WITHOUT the grace of the Holy Ghost. His grace in us enables us to be patient, longsuffering, gentle, kind and merciful.
1 Corinthians 3:1-111 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
You cannot build the church of God by doing things your way. Neither can I build the church of God by doing things my way. We all must be workers together in the harmony which is only made possible by the grace and guidance of the Holy Ghost.
Carnal men cannot and will not build up the body of Christ which is the church of God. The church of God, which is the Bride of Christ and the body of Christ in this world, will not be built up and edified by men and women who have envy and strife . Envy and strife produce division, and division destroys the body. The members cannot survive if they are separated from one another.
So what do you think the devil wants to do? He wants to divide the members from each other. He wants to cause division. Has he succeeded? How did Satan succeed in separating the members from one another? The answer is by envy and strife.
What is envy?
Envy is present when one person begins to compete with another person with a desire to be perceived as being better. There is present the element of jealousy with a strong unfavorable attitude toward the other person. This envy and jealousy will cause the person to be contentious and quarrelsome. They will begin to argue and be at variance with the other person. Their discussions will turn into debates where they will defend their variance at all cost. Brotherly love will be sacrificed as this preeminent spirit rises up to exercise rule over others.
When envy is allowed to rule, strife will be the result. This is what Jesus was talking about when He warned the disciples about the importance of submitting to one another.
Matthew 20:25-2825 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
In the body of Christ, the church of God, we do not exercise “DOMINION” over one another. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and there is no other person who has the equal power of dominion as does Jesus Christ. This is what has always been the charge against the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He claims to have been given the privilege of sitting in the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ to determine and judge matters of sin. His authority is assumed to be so great that he can bind sin upon another person or forgive sin and release persons from their guilt of sin.
Sin separates us from God and one another. If you charge me with sin, then we are not members of one body. If I have repented of my sins and am walking in all the light and understanding which God has given to me, and you cut me off from your fellowship because you charge me with willful sin, then you have made yourself a judge of men’s souls. Again, we must listen to the words of Jesus Christ. He has warned us to not enter into judgment of one another.
Matthew 7:1-51 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Do you have any faults? I do not refer to willful disobedience. The imperfection of our humanity is not equal to willful disobedience and rebellion against the known laws of God. We are capable of making mistakes. However, God has given us the grace to say no to every temptation and live free from willful sin.
If you, who are capable of making mistakes, condemn your brother or sister for their mistakes, then you have made yourself a judge and a hypocrite. If you allow Satan to cause you to become envious and begin to fight against your brother, then you have caused division and are in danger of killing an innocent member of the body of Jesus Christ.
The carnal man is strongly tempted to be envious and jealous of another person. The carnal man has a strong desire to be favored and elevated in the opinion of others. The preeminent spirit wants to be held as more important than another person. This attitude is one of pride, wanting to be first, chief and the person in charge. Just because a person is in charge does not mean that they have a preeminent spirit. Likewise, just because a person is poor and lowly does not mean that they do not have a “wannabe” spirit which makes them jealous, envious and preeminent.
A person, who is full of the Holy Ghost, will have the grace to resist the temptation to be envious and cause strife. He will have victory over every temptation to exalt himself. He will remain humble and willing to be a servant to the rest of the body. The grace of God which is seen in his attitude and conduct will bear witness that the Holy Spirit has come into his heart and filled him with the power and holiness of God. It is the daily consecration and death to the desires of the flesh which the apostle Paul referred to when he said, “I die daily.” He refused to be exalted.
2 Timothy 2:19-2619 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
A sanctified person will be able to be identified by the manifestation of the grace of God in his life to conduct himself in accordance to these instructions. An envious person, who causes strife and division, is not full of the Holy Ghost.