The Unity of the Body & the Diversity of the Spirit

Today’s selected reading continues in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the twelfth chapter of this New Testament book. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

 

            “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. 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. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

 

 

 

            “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:28-31).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will come to what is perhaps the very heart and center of the words which the apostle Paul sought to write unto the Corinthian congregation. In all reality I have to admit that the more I read this first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints the more I come face to face with the three greatest tenants or realities found within it are indeed found in the twelfth, the thirteenth and the fifteenth chapters. With this being said I would dare suggest that the words and language found in the eleventh chapter of this epistle also stands at the very heart and center of the epistle as well. If you read and study the words and language which are found in this epistle you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the broken body and the shed blood of the Lord Jesus which was shed for the remission of sins. It is in the eleventh chapter of this New Testament epistle you encounter the awesome and powerful truth concerning the Lord’s supper and the table of the Lord—and not only these realities but how they celebrate, remember and memorialize the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. I would dare say that at the very heart and center of this epistle is a powerful declaration concerning the sacrifice and offering of the Lord Jesus and how when we come to the Lord’s table we are not only showing His death until He comes but we are doing it in remembrance of Him. Oh there is a great need for us to pay close attention to the words and language that is found in the eleventh chapter of this epistle for within it we encounter the tremendous responsibility we have surrounding the table of the Lord and how the table of the Lord is such that must not be defiled, polluted or profaned.

 

            As you continue reading the words which are found in this epistle and come to the twelfth chapter you will come to the very heart and center of the message the apostle Paul sought to convey unto the Corinthian congregation. Upon reading the words within this epistle you will find in the first and eleventh chapter the apostle Paul writing concerning the divisions which were present in the midst of the congregation. It is in the first chapter where we find the apostle Paul writing unto this congregation concerning a report the house of Chloe brought to him concerning divisions which were present among them—and not just divisions but divisions across lines of personality, charisma and individual voices and preachers of the gospel of the Lord Jesus. It is in the first and opening chapter of this epistle we are brought face to face with the divisions present in the midst of the church and how they were divided across lines of associating with the some of the voices which were present during those days. The apostle Paul writes how there were some who declared themselves to be of Apollos, there were some who declared themselves to be of Paul, there were some who declared themselves to be of Cephas and there were some who declared themselves to be of Christ. These divisions were causing tremendous chaos and conflict in the midst of the congregation as I am sure there were those present in the congregation who were in fact disconnected and disjointed from their fellow brother(s) and sister(s). Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to the words presented to us in the first and opening chapter of this epistle for they bring us face to face with the awesome reality concerning this congregation and how although they were enriched in all utterance and all knowledge and although they came behind and lacked in no spiritual gift they were deeply divided among themselves.

 

            The more you read the words which are found in this epistle the more you will be brought face to face with the incredible truth that this church and congregation of believers was not only deeply divided within itself but was also a church that was at war with itself. It is virtually impossible to read the words presented here in this passage of Scripture and not come face to face with the truth that this church was deeply divided and was at war with itself and among its members. The words which James wrote in the epistle found in the New Testament serve as a powerful witness and testimony concerning the condition of the congregation of the Corinthians for in it he speaks of that which causes wars and fightings among the brethren. Within the epistle James wrote unto the Corinthian saints we find him speaking of their own lusts, their own covetousness and their own desires which not only war within themselves but also war among the members of the body of Christ. James speaks of how they lust and kill and how they fight among themselves to lay hold of that for which they cannot have. What’s more is James goes on to write how they lust and kill and do not have because they do not ask and even when they do ask they ask amiss that they might consume what they lay hold of upon their own lusts and desires. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we pay close attention to the words found in the epistle written unto James for the words presented there bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding those who name the name of the Lord Jesus and how it is possible for the disciples of Jesus and the saints of God to be at war with themselves—even in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

 

            As we read the words which the apostle Paul set forth in this first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we must needs recognize and understand that this was a church that was deeply divided within itself and was in fact a church that was at war with itself among its members. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are present here in this epistle for they bring us face to face with the tremendous truth that when the apostle Paul was writing unto them he could not write unto and address them as spiritual but as carnal—even babes in Christ. In the third chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul writes and speaks unto them concerning strife and envyings which were present among them and how these strifes and envyings which were present among them were crippling and paralyzing them. What’s more is the strife and envying which was present among the Corinthian congregation was causing them to be carnal and essentially infants in Christ. It is in the third chapter of this first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we are brought face to face with the truth of this congregation and how although they were justified and although they had been sanctified by and through the blood of the Lord Jesus they were entirely disconnected and disjointed from each other. If the four New Testament gospels present us with the physical person of the Lord Jesus as He walked upon this earth and among us in living flesh then the book of Acts presents us with the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints the apostle Paul brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that the head of the church is indeed the Lord Jesus. Not only does the fourth chapter of the epistle bring us to the place of recognizing that the Lord Jesus is the head of the church but this is one of the more common themes in the writings of the apostle Paul. In his epistles the apostle Paul sought to convey the tremendous reality that the church was one body which was made up of many members which were all united under one head.

 

            The more you read and consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in his epistles the more you will encounter and come to the place where you understand that the body of Christ is such that was made without human hands and is entirely and altogether spiritual in nature. When you think about and consider the reality of the body of Christ you must needs acknowledge the incredible truth that the body of Christ is that which is made up of many members—each member with its own unique and individual function as being part of the body. You cannot read the writings which the apostle Paul wrote and not encounter and come to the place of acknowledgment that the Church is indeed the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus which was upon the earth. It is indeed true that the only begotten and eternal Son of the Father came to the earth in a physical body after being born of the virgin Mary and yet it is true that He would come unto them again in the form and person of the Holy Spirit. It would be by and through this Holy Spirit that a spiritual body was prepared and fashioned for Him that he might continue to dwell and abide in the earth among men. While it was indeed true the Lord Jesus had a physical body that was prepared for Him—a physical body which He dwelt in for thirty three years—there was another body that was prepared for Him after His resurrection and ascension unto the right hand of the Father. We might very well say that when the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead He was raised to newness of life—still with a body of flesh and blood, however, I would dare say that body was entirely and altogether transformed to be such that could ascend unto the right hand of the Father. After the ascension of the Lord Jesus unto the right hand of the Father the person of the Holy Spirit would descend from heaven and arrive in the upper room within the city of Jerusalem where one-hundred and twenty souls were gathered together.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning the day of Pentecost is that it was more than just the arrival of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit did indeed come with the sound of a mighty rushing wind that filled the whole room where they were gathered. On this particular day there were cloven tongues of fire which rested upon the heads of all one-hundred and twenty souls which were present and each of them were enabled to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there are many who choose to stop there with those two distinct realities surrounding the day of Pentecost—the sound of a mighty rushing wind and the cloven tongues of fire. There are those who would like to stop at the speaking in other tongues as each was given utterance by and according to the Holy Spirit. The truth of the matter, however, is that what took place on the day of Pentecost was about more than simply the sound of a mighty rushing wind and cloven tongues of fire resting upon the heads of each person in that upper room. As you continue reading within the second chapter of this New Testament epistle you will read how on that day before the day itself was over three thousand souls were added to the number of those who were present in the upper room. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible this truly is for within the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the day of Pentecost and how on the day of Pentecost three thousand souls were added to the number of those who were already present in the upper room. On the day of Pentecost there were originally and initially one-hundred and twenty souls present in the upper room who received the Holy Spirit while on that same day—before the day was over—three thousand souls were added to that number.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the tremendous truth surrounding the day of Pentecost and how there have been and how there are those who would like to highlight the day of Pentecost as being solely about speaking with other tongues. The truth of the matter, however—one which we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of—is that on the day of Pentecost the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was established. It might very well be said that those initial one-hundred and twenty souls which were present in the upper room were the initial makeup of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus and how after the arrival of the Holy Spirit the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would increase in size and measure in the earth. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when considering the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus is that just as a physical and natural body grows with age so also has and so also does the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus grow with each passing year, with each passing decade, with each passing generation, with each passing century and millennia. There is absolutely no denying the tremendous truth surrounding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus and just as His physical body would grow from an infant into a fully grown man over the course of thirty years so also would His spiritual body grow from what might have been perceived as an infant on the day of Pentecost. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to consider this particular truth and how the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was such that was first established in the earth on the day of Pentecost in the womb of the upper room. Although the physical body of the Lord Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was born in an upper room in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

 

            Stop for a moment and consider just how incredible this reality truly is for we must needs recognize and acknowledge the awesome truth that the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God did in fact have a physical body prepared for Him and was born of a virgin in a manger in the town of Bethlehem. What makes this all the more interesting when you think about it is when you consider that when it came to the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus it was not birthed or brought forth in a manger nor in the town of Bethlehem but in an upper room in the city of Jerusalem. When it came to the Lord Jesus Himself being born in the form of physical flesh and blood He was born in a manger in the city of David which was the town of Bethlehem. Taking this a step further it’s truly unique to think about the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus and how when it came to this body it was also born in a city of David—yet not the city of David’s own nativity. When the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was brought forth into the earth it was brought forth in the city of David which was Jerusalem in an upper room. Oh I have to admit that I can’t help but wonder what this upper room was indeed like and whether or not it differed from the large upper room that was furnished where the Lord Jesus held the Last Supper with His disciples. If the physical and natural body of the Lord Jesus was indeed born in a manger surrounded by animals in the city of David which was Bethlehem then I would imagine the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus might very well have been birthed and brought forth in similar circumstances. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that there were indeed two distinct bodies which were prepared for the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit—the physical body made up of flesh and blood which was brought forth from the virgin Mary and the spiritual body made without human hands brought forth by the Holy Spirit.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs recognize and understand is that the same manner and fashion in which the physical body of the Lord Jesus was conceived and brought forth in the earth was the same means and fashion His spiritual body was conceived and brought forth in the earth. If you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke you will find that in order for the virgin Mary to conceive and bring forth the only begotten Son of the Father the Holy Ghost would need to come upon her and the power of the most High would overshadow her. It would be this combined working of the Holy Ghost coming upon her and the power of the most High overshadowing her that she was able to conceive within her womb the physical life and body of the Lord Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus and how this body was also brought forth and conceived by the Holy Spirit. In fact I would dare say that just as the Holy Ghost came upon Mary and just as the power of the most High overshadowed her so also the Holy Ghost came upon the one-hundred and twenty which were present in the upper room. What’s more is we know for a fact that it was indeed the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost that caused the creation and formation of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus. With this being said we must needs recognize that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ would and could not have been formed and fashioned in the upper room in the midst of the city of Jerusalem without and apart from the presence of the Holy Ghost.

 

            I have to admit that as I sit here and write these words I can’t help but be absolutely and incredibly amazed at the reality and concept of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus being conceived and brought forth in an upper room in the city of Jerusalem. Although the physical body of the Lord Jesus was conceived in the physical womb of Mary the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was conceived in an upper room which was present in the city of Jerusalem. On the day of Pentecost it was the presence, the power and the person of the Holy Ghost that enabled the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus to be conceived and brought forth in the earth. On the day of Pentecost fifty days after the Lord Jesus had been raised from the dead and ten days after he had ascended unto the right hand of the Father in heaven the spiritual body which would be prepared for Him would be established in the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind that the upper room where those one-hundred and twenty souls were gathered together in one accord and in prayer was indeed a womb in which the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would be conceived and brought forth into the earth. What makes this all the more remarkable and astounding when you consider it is when you think about the fact that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was formed within the womb of the upper room and began with one-hundred and twenty persons. Before that day would let out, however, this spiritual body would grow and increase in size in an exponential measure. While the day of Pentecost began with only one-hundred and twenty souls in that upper room it would conclude with more than three-thousand souls being present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Not only this but at one point we find and discover the number of those that believed numbered upwards of five-thousand souls.

 

            The more you read the New Testament book of Acts the more you will encounter the incredible language of growth, addition, multiplication, fruitfulness and the like. It is impossible to read the words which are found in this New Testament book of Acts and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ and how although it would begin with one-hundred and twenty souls in a single upper room it would grow beyond measure in houses throughout the city of Jerusalem. What’s more is that the more you read this New Testament book of Acts the more you will encounter and come to the place where you will see the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ expanding beyond Jerusalem and moving throughout Judaea and Samaria. By the time we come to the eighth chapter we find the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ as moving beyond the city of Jerusalem as a direct result of the great persecution which broke out in the midst of the city. It’s interesting to note that when the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts began it did so with one-hundred and twenty in an upper room and yet it would conclude with more than three thousand souls—not crammed into that upper room but spread out throughout houses and homes within Jerusalem. Pause and consider how truly astonishing that is that on the day of Pentecost there would be one-hundred and twenty souls present in an upper room in the city of Jerusalem and before that day would let out there would be more than three thousand meeting in houses and homes throughout Jerusalem. Not only this but consider how in the eighth chapter of this same New Testament book we find this spiritual body of the Lord Jesus moving beyond even Jerusalem itself and expanding into all Judaea and Samaria. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first, second, fourth, eighth and twelfth chapters of this New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “…Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath’s day journey. And when they were come in, they went into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty)” (Acts 1:12-15).

 

            “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, And Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygica, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrne, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).

 

            “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).

 

            “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the thigns that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32-37).

 

            “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst. No man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one” (Acts 5:12-16).

 

            “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied” (Acts 6:1).

 

            “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).

 

 

            “And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and hailing men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went about everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4).

 

            “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, and spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11;19-21).

 

            “…and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus for to seek Saul: and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:24-26).

 

            “…And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying” (Acts 12:12).

 

            Each of these passages of Scripture help paint the powerful picture concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus that although it was birthed in the womb of the upper room in the city of Jerusalem it would immediately begin growing on the day of Pentecost. On that day the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would increase in number from one-hundred and twenty souls to more than three thousand. Not only this but if you continue reading in the New Testament book of Acts you will find time and time again wonderful descriptions of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus increasing in number. You cannot read this New Testament book and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord adding daily unto the number of those who were saved. Time and time again within this New Testament book you will encounter the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the Lord multiplying the number of disciples on a regular occurrence. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is when you consider the fact that the growth of the body of Christ in the earth wasn’t an infrequent or rare occurrence. The early church routinely and regularly witnessed and beheld church growth and increase as the Lord would add unto their numbers such as should be saved. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely astonishing reality of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ immediately beginning to grow in the earth from the very day it was brought forth into the earth.

 

            With all of this being said it’s absolutely astonishing to consider how in the book of Acts there are indeed two distinct realities surrounding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus. The first of these two realities is that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would experience continued and sustained growth throughout the days of the early Church and the apostles. There are countless instances and examples found within the New Testament book of Acts concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ and how the Lord would continue to add daily unto their number such as should be saved. What a truly wonderful and powerful truth this truly is when you take the time to think about it for when considering this spiritual body which was prepared for the Lord Jesus in the earth we must needs acknowledge and recognize that it was such that increased in size and experienced continued and sustained growth in the earth. We cannot read the New Testament book of Acts without and apart from considering the awesome and powerful truth surrounding this body of Christ which was prepared in the earth experiencing rapid and continued growth throughout the days of the apostles. From the day of Pentecost onward the church would continue to increase and grow in size much like the physical body of the Lord Jesus would grow with each year He was alive and present upon the earth. What a truly wonderful thought it is to think about how just as the physical body of the Lord Jesus would grow from an infant into a full grown male who would begin ministry at the age of thirty so also would the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus grow from what would be considered an infant on the day of Pentecost with a little more than a hundred people to more than three thousand souls.

 

            The second reality found within the New Testament book of Acts is that while the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would indeed be conceived within the womb of the upper room it would not remain in the upper room. Once the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ was conceived in the upper room all those present would depart from that place speaking with other tongues the mighty and wonderful works of God in the tongues of other nations and languages. By the time the second chapter had finished we find the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ moving from an upper room to the houses and homes of all those who were believers on the Lord Jesus. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that what the physical body of the Lord Jesus could do with the limitations of the flesh the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would not have to deal or contend with. The physical body of the Lord Jesus was confined to one place at one time and could not be in two places at the same time. This was not so and would not be the case for the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus. After the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was conceived and brought forth into the earth within the womb of the upper room it would not only experience growth but it would also transition into many houses and homes within and throughout the city of Jerusalem. From the second chapter all the way through to the opening verses of the eighth chapter the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was largely confined to houses and homes in the city of Jerusalem as a powerful witness would be manifested in the midst of it.

 

            When we come to the eighth chapter of this New Testament book we find the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ no longer being able to remain and abide in the city of Jerusalem. It would be through and as a result of a great persecution which broke out in the city of Jerusalem against the church that all except the apostles would be scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria. When the great persecution broke out in the midst of the city of Jerusalem against the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ it would not only continue to experience sustained growth but it would now experience growth beyond Jerusalem. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for although the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would experience growth in the midst of the city of Jerusalem it was never destined to remain and abide in Jerusalem alone. Jerusalem would indeed be an incubator if you will for the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus as the Lord would cause it to increase in size and number, however, Jerusalem would not be the only place the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would remain and abide within the earth. We must needs recognize and understand that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would need to transition beyond Jerusalem for even Jesus declared unto His disciples and followers that after they were endued with power from on high they would be His witnesses—first in Jerusalem and then unto Judaea, Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

 

            What we witness and behold in the New Testament book of Acts is the direct fulfillment of that which the Lord Jesus Himself spoke on the mount of Olives just before He ascended unto the right hand of the Father. It would be there on the mount of Olives the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples and followers to tarry in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high. Not only this but the Lord Jesus also declared unto His disciples and followers that after they received power from on high they would be His witnesses—first in Jerusalem and then in Judaea, Samaria and ultimately unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Chapters two through seven describe this wonderful and powerful witness in the midst of the city of Jerusalem exactly as the Lord Jesus had spoken. When the eighth chapter of this New Testament book opens it reveals how that which the Lord Jesus had spoken would begin to be fulfilled as the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would begin to expand beyond Jerusalem and would extend into Judaea and Samaria. Not only would the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus experience growth in number but it would also experience growth in location as well.  Oh we must needs recognize and understand that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would not only experience growth in terms of number and size but it would also experience growth in terms of location. The spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was never destined to remain and abide in the midst of the city of Jerusalem any more than it wasn’t destined to remain and abide in the upper room. The upper room would serve its purpose as the womb from which the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would be brought forth and Jerusalem would indeed be the incubator in which the spiritual body would begin to experience growth in number, however, this spiritual body of the Lord Jesus would experience growth even more as it would enter houses and homes before eventually reaching into Judaea and Samaria.

 

            As you come to the eleventh chapter of this New Testament book you will find that as a direct result of the great persecution which broke out in the city of Jerusalem around the death of Stephen the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus would spread as far as Antioch. We must needs recognize and understand the importance of Antioch for when the apostles and brethren heard of the great work that was being done in Antioch they would send Barnabas to assist with the work which took place in that city. Scripture reveals how Barnabas would spend some time in Antioch before departing for Tarsus where he would find Saul and bring him back with him unto Antioch. Both Paul and Barnabas would spend a year together laboring among the disciples and brethren which were there and it would be there in Antioch where the believers of the Lord Jesus would first be called Christians. Not only this but Antioch would become a crucial and pivotal location for the early church for in the thirteenth chapter you find the Holy Ghost speaking in the midst of the prophets, teachers and the brethren present there concerning Paul and Barnabas. The Holy Ghost would call for those in Antioch to separate unto Him Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto He had called them. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this particular truth for it brings us face to face with the absolutely awesome and powerful truth surrounding the beginning of the growth of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus beyond merely Judaea, Samaria and Galilee but also unto Asia and into Europe.

 

            In the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the disciples and brethren spreading out through Judaea and Samaria and we find Philip coming unto Samaria and powerfully preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus with signs and wonders following. After hearing of the great work that was being done in Samaria the apostles and brethren in Jerusalem would send Peter and John unto Samaria to assist with the work that was being wrought in that place. It would be upon and after the arrival of the apostles Peter and John that they would lay their hands on those who believed and they would receive the Holy Ghost just as men had done in the city of Jerusalem. What we find in the eighth chapter would be a precursor for what we find in the rest of the New Testament book of Acts for beginning with the thirteenth chapter we read of the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus spreading beyond merely the city of Jerusalem and beyond Judaea and Samaria unto the regions of round about Judaea, Samaria and Galilee. Chapters thirteen and fourteen would describe the first apostolic and missionary journey of the apostle Paul together with Barnabas as they would travel and preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus—unto the Jews first in their synagogues and also unto the Gentiles. It would be here in these two chapters where the Gentiles would first begin to hear the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus beyond Cornelius and his household in the tenth chapter. Although Cornelius and his household would be the first among the Gentiles to hear the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus and the first among the Gentiles to receive the promise of the Holy Ghost it would be during the apostolic and missionary journeys of the apostle Paul beginning with the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters that the Gentiles would indeed begin hearing the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus.

 

            What we find in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts would describe a gathering together of the apostles and brethren together with Paul and Barnabas concerning those who would argue and contend that Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be saved. By the time the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts was concluded Paul, Barnabas, Silas and others would return unto Antioch with a letter from the apostles and brethren imposing no such requirement for Gentiles to be circumcised in order to be saved. Before the chapter concludes we find Paul wanting to return unto the churches whereunto they had journeyed to see how they fared. Scripture reveals how Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with him on the journey, however, Paul was unwilling to allow John Mark to accompany them because he had departed from them and from the work earlier. As a direct result of this we find Paul and Barnabas parting ways as Barnabas and John Mark would journey unto Cyprus and Paul and Silas would continue their own journey. Beginning with chapter sixteen of this New Testament book we find the apostle Paul journeying unto many of the cities for which we have epistles which were written unto—cities such as Philippi, Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus, Colossae and even the region of Galatia. It’s important to recognize what we find beginning to read with and from the sixteenth chapter for essentially chapters sixteen through twenty describe the apostle Paul engaging in an apostolic and missionary journey among the Gentiles—both in Asia and Europe.

 

            Although in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts the apostle Paul was initially forbidden by the Holy Ghost to venture into Asia to preach the word of the gospel we ultimately find him preaching the gospel in the city of Ephesus which we know is in the modern day country of Turkey. A majority of his preaching and teaching in these chapters would be in what is known as the modern day country of Greece as Thessalonica, Corinth, Athens and Philippi were and still are cities in the nation of Greece. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for the words and language we find in chapters sixteen through twenty describe the apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus among the Gentiles. In Thessalonica the apostle Paul would preach the gospel unto the Jews first, however, the unbelieving Jews who were moved with envy would not only blaspheme but would also oppose themselves. In the seventeenth chapter of this New Testament book we find the apostle Paul journeying beyond Thessalonica unto Berea and Athens because of the persecution of the Jews. By the time we come to the eighteenth chapter we find the apostle Paul purposing to deliberately and intentionally preach unto the Gentiles only. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this incredible truth for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth regarding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus not only growing within the city of Jerusalem, and not only transitioning into houses and homes, and not only expanding beyond Jerusalem into Judaea and Samaria but the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus moving beyond geographical borders and boundaries.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in the twelfth chapter of the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints it’s that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus is one just as the triune God is one. The spiritual body of the Lord Jesus is one united together under one head just as we ourselves are one being comprised and made up of spirit, soul and the flesh. What we find in the New Testament book of Acts is the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus not only increasing in number among the Jews but also increasing in number to include Gentiles as well. By the time the New Testament book of Acts draws to a close we find the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus including Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles alike. This is incredibly important to recognize when we read the words contained in the twelfth chapter of the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. It is in this particular chapter we read the incredible and powerful language concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus being one. What’s more is that if you take the time to read the words and writings of the apostle Paul you will find that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus was one united together and comprised of both Jew and Gentile under the one head who was the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something we must needs understand when thinking about the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus for before the New Testament book of Acts was over we find the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus transitioning beyond Jerusalem, beyond Judaea, and beyond Samaria and reaching unto both Europe and Asia. Oh how absolutely wonderful this particular truth truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it. When we consider the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus we must needs recognize and acknowledge the tremendous and powerful truth that it is one single body made up of many members which is united and compacted together under one head which is the Lord Jesus.

 

            The twelfth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints begins with the apostle speaking concerning spiritual gifts and not wanting them to be ignorant. The apostle Paul reminded them that they were Gentiles carried away unto dumb idols which could not move or speak as they were led. This would immediately be followed by the apostle Paul declaring unto them that there are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit and differences of administrations but the same Lord. Furthermore the apostle Paul would go on to describe how there were diversities of operations but it was the same God which works all in all. Perhaps the crux of everything the apostle Paul wrote in this particular chapter is found in the seventh verse when he writes concerning the manifestation of the Spirit being given to every man to profit withal. Oh please don’t miss and dismiss the words and truth that is found in this particular verse for if we wish to truly understand the manifestation of the Holy Spirit being given unto men we must needs recognize that He was given for the benefit and profit of all men alike. The person of the Holy Spirit was given that all men might profit and benefit—both Jews and Gentiles alike. Verses eight through eleven describe what many refer to as “the gifts of the Spirit” which Paul described as: (1) the word of wisdom, (2) the word of knowledge, (3) faith, (4) the gifts of healing, (5) the working of miracles, (6) prophecy, (7) discerning of spirits, (8) divers kinds of tongues and (9) the interpretation of tongues. Within this particular passage of Scripture the apostle Paul sought to demonstrate that the manifestation of the Spirit was given to every man to profit withal and that there were various gifts of the Spirit which were given for the edification of the saints and the brethren.

 

            When we read the words found in the twelfth chapter of this first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we must needs recognize and acknowledge the awesome and powerful truth that the manifestation of the Spirit was given for the profit and benefit of all alike. The Holy Spirit was given not for one particular congregation nor any particular individuals. The Holy Spirit was given that both Jews and Gentiles alike would experience the divine person, presence and power of the triune Godhead through His being active among them in the earth. What we find in the twelfth chapter of this epistle is an incredibly powerful declaration of the manifestation of the Spirit and the gifts which He gives unto men. We know from the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that men spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance and now in the twelfth chapter of this epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we find the manifestation of the Spirit as being given that gifts might be manifested in the midst of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus. Essentially that which the apostle Paul sought to describe and declare unto the Corinthian saints was that just as there was one body with many members so also was there on Spirit with different manifestations and different gifts. The same Spirit who gave the word of knowledge was the same Spirit who gave the word of wisdom and so on and so forth. It was one and the selfsame Spirit who had bestowed these different manifestations and ministrations of Himself unto the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus that they might move and operate in the same capacity as the Lord Jesus did while He was present upon the earth in the flesh.

 

            If there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints it’s that the manifestation of the Spirit was not only given unto men for the profit and benefit of all but it was also given that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus might move and operate in the same capacity as the physical person of the Lord Jesus did while He was present upon the earth. What we must needs realize and understand is that although an individual member of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus might only be given one of these ministrations and manifestation of the Holy Spirit it by no means negates the overall working and effectiveness of that member nor of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ. If each and every member of the body of Christ moved and operated in at least one of the manifestations and ministrations of the Spirit and the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus is the manifestation and representation of the Lord Jesus upon the earth then collectively we are carrying out and completing the very same work the Lord Jesus did while He was present upon the earth. Although there might be certain individuals who operate in more than one ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit a vast majority of the members of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus move and operate in one of the manifestation and ministrations of the Spirit. The sole purpose for these manifestation and ministrations of the Spirit in the midst of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus is that through this spiritual body the same work which the Lord Jesus carried out while He was in the flesh would continue to be carried out within and upon the earth. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that if the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus moves and operates in these ministrations of the Spirit it can and will move and operate in the same manner as the Lord Jesus did while He was present upon the earth.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary and imperative to call an draw your attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the manifestations and ministrations of the Spirit and how the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus is one body made up of many members. Pause for a moment and think about what it would have been like on the day of Pentecost if each of those three thousand souls which were added unto the one hundred and twenty were each given at least one ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. In all reality if each one of those three thousand souls were given at least one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and no individual was given more than one spiritual gift the possibility exists that there would be three hundred and thirty three souls operating in at least one of the gifts. Imagine three hundred and thirty three souls operating in the ministration of the word of knowledge and the same number operating in the word of wisdom. Imagine this same number of souls operating in faith while another group of the same number operated in the gifts of healing. Not only this but imagine what it would like if the same number of individuals operated in the working of miracles and others operated in prophecy. Consider if others of the same number operated in the discerning of spirits while others of the same number operated in tongues while others operated in the interpretation of tongues. Now take this line of thinking and project it beyond the day of Pentecost, beyond Judaea, beyond Samaria and unto Asia and Europe.

Is it any wonder why the Lord Jesus emphatically declared that greater works than these would we do because He went unto His Father. Oh we must needs recognize that the Lord Jesus was not referring to greater works in terms of quality but rather greater in terms of quantity. Think about how while the Lord Jesus moved and operated in all nine manifestation and ministrations of the Holy Spirit as He was present among us in the flesh. Consider also how the Lord Jesus ordained and appointed twelve disciples as apostles whom He would grant a measure and portion of the ministration of the Holy Spirit as He sent them out two by two as ambassadors and envoys of the kingdom of heaven. Not only this but consider how the Lord Jesus ordained and appointed another seventy also whom He would send out moving and operating in the ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit—particularly and specifically healing, miracles and faith. Consider the amount of faith it would need to not only work healing in the earth but also miracles and even the miracle of raising the dead and casting out unclean spirits. The four gospels present us with a glimpse of what the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus ought to and should look like in that this one body made up of many members is to move and operate in the ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for what we find in this passage of Scripture is the apostle Paul not only speaking of one body that moves and operates in the ministrations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit but also that just as the physical and natural body is one and has many members and all the members of that one body are one so also is it in Christ. The apostle Paul would declare that by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body—regardless of whether we be Jews or Gentiles and whether we are bond or free.

 

I bring this writing to a close by not only calling and drawing our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the reality of the body of the Lord Jesus being one made up of many members but also the reality that the ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit was given that the spiritual body might carry out what Jesus did in the flesh. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that the ministration and manifestation of the Spirit was given for the profit and benefit of all that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus might fulfill and carry out the same work the Lord Jesus carried out in the flesh. Pause for a moment and consider what would happen in the earth if each and every member of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus operated in at least one of the ministrations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Imagine what dramatic change and transformation would and could take place in the earth if each and every member of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus moved and operated in at least one of the ministrations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit the way Jesus moved and operated in all of them. There is absolutely no mistaking the fact that Jesus moved and operated in the fulness of the Holy Spirit for it was John the Baptist who declared that the Spirit was given without measure unto the Lord Jesus. If the Spirit was given without measure unto the Lord Jesus and we are the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus in the earth then we must needs move and operate in the ministrations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the single greatest challenge we must needs recognize and acknowledge when we think about the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus—and not only the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus but our place in the body and even the congregation we are a part of—is whether or not we are truly moving and operating in the ministration and manifestation of the Spirit.

 

We know that Jesus told a parable of three servants and how one servant was given five talents, another servant was given two talents and another servant was given one talent. With this logic and line of thinking it is quite interesting and astonishing to think about the fact that there might indeed be some among us who are given more than one ministration and manifestation of the Spirit but all ought to and should have at least one ministration and manifestation of the Spirit. There is a great need for us to ask ourselves whether or not we know and are aware of that one ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit we have been given and whether or not we are operating in it. The servant who was given five talents put them to work and earned five more while the servant who was given two talents put them to work and earned two more. At the very heart and soul of this parable is what we as the servants are doing with that which we have been entrusted with in this life. Are we truly moving and operating in that ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit which has been given and entrusted unto us? I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs recognize and understand that in these Last Days there needs to be an absolutely incredible working of the ministration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit that we might indeed move and operate in the earth fulfilling the same work and ministry which the Lord Jesus wrought during those three and a half years He was present upon the earth.

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