The Body of Christ: When the Physical Takes On It the Spiritual

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Philippi. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the fourth chapter of this New Testament book. “Therefore my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:1-3).

 

            “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understand, shall keep your hearts and minds through christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if they be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:4-9).

 

            “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things throughout Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receive, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having receive of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, and odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:15-20).

 

            “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Philippians 4:21-23).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the final chapter of the epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Philippi. This particular epistle is such that contains a tremendous amount of admonishment and encouragement for these saints whom the apostle Paul viewed as brethren—and not only brethren but also as dearly beloved in the Lord. If you take the time to begin reading with and from the first verse of the fourth chapter you will find the apostle Paul referring to these saints as brethren who were dearly beloved and longed for. I have to admit that as I sit here and read these words I wonder when I have personally viewed the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ as brethren. What’s more is I have to wonder and ask myself if I have ever referred to as the saints of God as dearly beloved of the Lord. Not only this but I have to wonder if there has ever been a time in my life when I have ever had such affection for and toward the saints of the living God. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the writings of the apostle Paul is the tender love, the compassion and affection he had for the saints of the living God. You cannot read the epistles written by the apostle Paul and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth of the incredible affection he had for and toward the saints of the living God and the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. The epistles which are found in the New Testament are saturated and inundated with countless references the apostle Paul made concerning the saints of God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and how tightly knit he was with each of the churches which he labored among and ministered unto.

 

            The more I read the words which are found in the opening verse of the fourth chapter the more I am brought face to face with the language the apostle used for not only did he refer to them as brethren and dearly beloved but he also spoke concerning them of his longing for them. In addition to this the apostle Paul would go on to write how they were his joy and his crown and immediately after admonishing them to stand fast in the Lord he would once more refer to them as dearly beloved. I have to admit that as I read the words which are found in this verse I am absolutely and incredibly astonished and captivated with the level of affection—and not only affection but also the immense connection—the apostle Paul had with the saints of the most high God. There is not a doubt in my mind the apostle Paul was knit together in heart, in, in mind, in soul and in spirit with the saints of the living God. In all reality this is at the very heart of the message the apostle Paul wrote in the second chapter of this particular epistle. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul referring to the tremendous need for unity, for community and for fellowship among the saints of God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only this but when you read the words written in the second chapter of this epistle you must also consider the words which are found in the second and fourth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are presented in the second chapter of this epistle, the words which are found in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome as well as the words which are found in the second and fourth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts. Consider if you will the above mentioned passages beginning with the heart and foundation of them being presented in the New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “Then they that gladly receive 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 things 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).

 

            In order to truly understand the significance of the words which are found in these two passages of the New Testament book of Acts it is necessary to turn back even further unto the first chapter of this book as well as the opening verses of the second chapter. If you begin reading with the twelfth verse of the first chapter of the book of Acts you will find those who were present with Jesus at the mount of Olives returned unto Jerusalem which was about a Sabbath’s day journey and went up into an upper room. What Luke goes on to record is how all those who were gathered together continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and bring us face to face with the beginning of this supernatural unity, fellowship and community which was present among the saints of God and the disciples of Christ. We know from the first chapter there were about one-hundred and twenty who were present together in the upper room and how these who were present were not only with one accord in prayer and supplication but also continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. What we must needs recognize and understand is that there were a total of ten days which transpired between the time the Lord Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the earth from the mount of Olives and the day of Pentecost. Pause and consider how for a full ten days the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ—about an hundred and twenty in total—not only gathered together with one accord but continued together with one accord. What’s more is that we must needs recognize and understand that at the very heart and core of their unity, their community and fellowship was prayer and supplication.

 

            Upon reading the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the one-hundred and twenty who were gathered together in the upper room continuing with one accord in prayer and supplication thus suggesting and signifying that at the very heart and center of their community and fellowship was prayer and supplication. This would not only create the atmosphere and environment for the Holy Spirit to arrive and be manifested on the day of Pentecost but would also be exponentially magnified upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely convinced that if they were together with one accord in prayer and supplication before the arrival of the Holy Spirit that prayer and supplication was entirely and altogether transformed by the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. We find in the first and opening chapter those who returned from the mount of Olives continuing together with one accord in prayer and supplication while in the opening verses of the second chapter we actually find the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely convinced that at the very heart and center of the unity, the community and fellowship of the saints of God was not only prayer and supplication but also the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were entirely and completely transformed by the arrival and manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit—and not only this but their fellowship, their community and their unity was transformed as well. Stop and consider that what began with about one-hundred and twenty in the upper room would balloon into more than three thousand in a single day after the arrival of the Holy Spirit. With this in mind consider if you will the following words which are found in the opening verses of the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a soun 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, Behood, 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, Phyrgia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, 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).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within the New Testament book of Acts we find them continuing with one accord in prayer and supplication in the upper room, we find them all with one accord in one place in the second chapter, and at the end of the second chapter we find them continuing daily with one accord. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when we come to the final verses of the third chapter it wasn’t merely about one-hundred and twenty saints who were gathered together with one accord but now we have more than three thousand souls being with one accord. Pause and consider how incredibly difficult it would be for one-hundred and twenty to be with one accord and now try and reproduce that in more than three thousand souls. What we must needs recognize is that what began with one hundred and twenty continuing with one accord in chapter one would continue with those same one-hundred and twenty being with one accord in the opening verses of the second chapter. By the time we come to the end of the second chapter of the second chapter we find more than three thousand souls being gathered together with one accord. Now add to this the words which we find in the fourth chapter of this same book for we still find them continuing with one accord.

 

            Having said this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Philippian saints. I am absolutely convinced that what we find here in the second chapter of this epistle not only has its foundation in what we read in the New Testament book of Acts but it is also a further expression of what was experienced within this book. The words presented in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts are incredibly significant and powerful when you take the time to think about them for they call and draw our attention to the incredible need for unity, community and fellowship together with the saints of the most High God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful reality of the unity, community and fellowship that is so desperately needed among the saints of the most high God. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Philippian saints beginning with the first verse:

 

            “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is abo e every name: that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but. Now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:1-18).

 

            Please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we find the apostle Paul beginning by appealing to the consolation that is found in Christ, to the comfort of love and to the fellowship of the Spirit. Not only this but the apostle Paul also went on to speak of bowels and mercies in an attempt to invite the Philippians saints into a tremendous place of community and fellowship together with each other—and not only with each other but also with the saints in all places. One thing we must needs consider when reading the New Testament book of Acts is what began with about one-hundred and twenty would expand beyond that singular upper room and continued into the houses and homes of the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider what is found in the New Testament book of Acts and how what we find in the New Testament book of Acts is those who were present with Jesus at the mount of Olives being gathered together in an upper room and after the day of Pentecost there were three thousand souls—not meeting together in an upper room but in houses and in the Temple. In order for us to truly understand the unity, the community and fellowship of the early church we must needs recognize that it wasn’t relegated, confined or limited to a singular place nor was it relegated to four walls and a roof. From the day of Pentecost on the saints of God became a community within a city as they gathered together in houses and homes with one accord in prayer and supplication. When we think about the community, the unity and the fellowship of the saints of God we must needs recognize that this community and fellowship extends beyond the four walls of the church building and is present within our houses and homes.

 

            If COVID revealed anything to us—particularly and especially when the church buildings were closed and shut down—it’s how church is not something we go to but something we are. For centuries we have thought and believed that church was something we have gone to rather than recognizing and understanding that church is who we are and what we do. Church is not something we go to and it is not relegated to a singular place we journey to on a Sunday morning, or a Sunday evening or even during the week. Church is something we are as a body of believers who are united together in heart, in spirit, in mind and in soul. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons COVID revealed and demonstrated for us is the awesome and incredible reality that church can take place outside the four walls of a building and can take place within our homes. Unfortunately one of the sad truths is that many within our church buildings missed the point and were so focused on getting back together in a building made of stone, wood, brick, mortar, plaster and the like. I am absolutely and completely convinced there were a number of men and women who in their feverish and furious attempt to gather together in the church buildings completely and utterly missed the point of being the church outside the four walls of a building. What’s more is that there were actually men and women who missed the tremendous point that COVID might very well have been an invitation to return to our roots and our foundation rather than returning to what we considered as “normal” and what we were used to. In all reality I would dare say there were many within our church buildings who did more than simply return to church buildings but returned to what they thought and believed was normal. What we must needs recognize and understand is that what we considered “normal” might not actually be biblical and scriptural.

 

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in these passages of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that community, unity and fellowship among the members of the body of Christ is not confined to a single body of believers in one church building. One of the greatest truths that is found in the New Testament book of Acts is when we consider how they continued with one accord being of one heart and one mind as they would gather together in the temple yes—but how they gathered together in each other’s homes. Pause for a moment and think about the tremendous care, compassion, affection, tenderness and love that would surround opening up your home to the saints of God entering in and fellowshipping together with the breaking of bread and the teaching of the Scripture. It is absolutely incredible when we read the words found in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Philippi for within it we find the apostle Paul inviting and admonishing them to be likeminded, to have the same love, and to be of one accord and of one mind. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for there is something truly powerful about the unity, community and fellowship of the saints of the living God. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that we must needs be likeminded (of the same mind), having the same love, being of one accord, and knit together. The community and unity of the body of Christ is not confined to a singular church building but extends beyond four walls and extends into houses and homes of men and women. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:

 

            “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 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 the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the member 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).

 

            The words which we find in this passage of Scripture are absolutely and incredibly significant for when we consider what is present here we are confronted with the tremendous truth that we are indeed the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. While it is true that there was a physical and natural body that was prepared for the Lord Jesus when He came to the earth after laying aside the glory He had with the Father we must needs recognize that there was a spiritual body that was prepared for Him by the Holy Spirit. Just as there was a singular physical body which was prepared for and occupied by the Lord Jesus for more than three decades there is and there has been a spiritual body which has been prepared for and occupied by the Lord Jesus for more than two millennia. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth that we have been called to be a spiritual body of and for the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that this spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ not only spans beyond four walls of buildings but it also spans the borders and boundaries of cities, towns, villages, countries and nations. Not only this but the spiritual body which was prepared for and occupied by the Lord Jesus Christ expanded beyond the realm of time itself for the Lord Jesus has had a spiritual body within the earth for more than two millennia. While the physical and natural body which was occupied by the Lord Jesus Christ was confined to one specific place while He was present among us upon the earth His spiritual body has no such restrictions and limitations. There is something we must needs acknowledge and understand concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ is such that is and has been made up of many members which have been present upon the earth for more than two millennia.

 

            Building upon this even further I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a need to consider the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian saints. Upon reading the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this epistle we find additional language concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ which is indeed the church and how it is compacted and fit together. The words and language we find in the fourth chapter of this epistle brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ and how it has been manifested in the earth to both grow and to mature in the sight and presence of the living God. Just as the physical body of the Lord Jesus Christ grew within the womb of Mary and would grow outside the womb of Mary until His years of adulthood so also would the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ grow in grace, wisdom, and so much more. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints beginning to read with and from the first verse of the chapter immediately followed by the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints:

 

            “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they. Lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:1-16).

 

            “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

 

            With all of these verses found in the New Testament concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize and understand the awesome reality surrounding the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is we must recognize the powerful sense of community, unity and fellowship which exists within the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ and how we have indeed been called into a place of affection and compassion. In the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Philippian saints we find the apostle Paul referring to the saints which were at Philippi and speaking of them not only as brethren but also as dearly beloved and those who were longed for. The apostle Paul would also go on to speak of them as being his joy and his crown and admonished them to stand fast in the Lord knowing and expressing them as his dearly beloved. I have to admit the more I read the words which are found in the fourth chapter the more I am called and invited into a place of affection, compassion, and tender love for and toward the saints of God and the body of Christ. I know for myself that there is a great need for me to be such that has my heart, my soul, my mind and my spirit knit together with the body of Christ. One of the greatest truths that is found in this passage of Scripture is the great need for us as the saints of God and body of Christ to be those who are knit together as one with the members of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a great need within our hearts and lives to recognize that our connection and relationship to the body extends beyond just the four walls of the church building we gather together in and even beyond those who we might gather together with on a weekly basis.

 

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the awesome and powerful truth of what is found in the second verse of this passage for the apostle Paul would go on to speak of two specific individuals within the body of Christ—and not only within the body of Christ but perhaps even within the Philippian congregation itself—to be of the same mind in the Lord. In verses two and three of the fourth chapter of this passage we find the apostle Paul beseeching two individuals to be of the same mind in the Lord as well as speaking concerning those who laboured with him in the gospel and those whose names are in the book of life. This is something we have a great need to recognize and pay attention to within our hearts and lives for we have indeed and have in fact been called to a place where we are of one mind in the Lord—and not only of one mind in the Lord but of the same mind in the Lord. We are those who have been called to be knit together with others in the body of Christ and we have not been called to live lives independent and separate from each other. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to be those who allow ourselves to be knit together with others. What we find in the New Testament book of Acts is an incredible picture of that which we have been and are called to as the saints of God. The apostle Paul invited the Philippian saints to stand fast in the Lord as dearly beloved and followed this up with an invitation to be of the same mind in the Lord. This would also be followed by the apostle Paul speaking of those who laboured together with him in the gospel and those whose names were written in the book of life.

 

            I have to admit that at the end of the day and at the very heart and center of what we must needs understand as the saints of the most High God is that we must pursue our names being written in the Lamb’s book of life. I can’t help but recall the narrative in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the tenth chapter of this gospel narrative you will find Jesus ordaining and appointing seventy others whom He sent out to heal the sick, to cast out devils, and to preach the gospel of the good news unto the poor. I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a great need for us to recognize and understand that which is found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here is a powerful witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ ordaining seventy others aside from the twelve apostles and sending them out. What we find in this passage, however, is more than just Jesus sending them out but them returning after casting out demons and devils and rejoicing that demons were subject to them in the name of Jesus. How Jesus responds to them is something that should be at the very heart and center of our ambition and pursuit as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus heard the seventy returning rejoicing that demons were subject to them in His name Jesus corrected their thinking and called them to rejoice rather that their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life. In all reality I am convinced these words help shine a different amount of light on to the words we find in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel concerning those who could do all the ministry in the world and yet hear the Lord Jesus say that He never knew them—and not only that He never knew them but also commanding them to depart. I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is possible to do all the “ministry” in the world and everything we think is “ministry” and yet hear those terrifying words “Depart from me ye worker of iniquity; I never knew you.”

 

            Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke as well as the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

 

            “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city” (Luke 10:1-12).

            “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17-20).

 

            And now consider the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

 

            “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and In thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:13-23).

 

            Please pay close attention to the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for at the very heart of how we live our lives and conduct ourselves is our names being written in the book of Life. If there is one thing we must needs live for it’s for our names being written in the book of life knowing that when death comes or when the trumpet sounds we will meet Him in the air and will be gathered together with all of the saints. In the fourth verse of the fourth chapter the apostle Paul once more instructs and admonishes the Philippian saints to rejoice in the Lord always and again to say rejoice. The apostle Paul invited them to let their moderation be known unto all men for the Lord is at hand. Oh having experienced death as close and as personal to me as my father passing away just a few days I realize this more than I ever have before. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and one thing I am absolutely convinced of it is that the Lord is at hand and that the return of our Lord is nearer than we expect and are even aware. In light of this knowledge we must needs be careful for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving letting out requests be known unto God. Giving everything in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving letting our requests be known unto God we must needs understand that the peace of God which passes all understanding must needs and shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Oh that we would be people whose lives are not only governed by prayer and supplication as we let our requests be made known unto God but also that we would allow the peace of God which passes all understanding to keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in this fourth chapter for the apostle Paul also appeals to their thoughts and the way they allowed themselves to think. The apostle Paul admonished them concerning whatsoever things were true, whatsoever things were honest, whatsoever things were just, whatsoever things were pure, whatsoever things were lovely, and whatsoever things were of good report—if there were any virtue and any praise they were to think upon these things. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about and consider the words which immediately follow this for the apostle Paul emphatically declared that the God of peace shall be with them. Not only did the apostle Paul speak of the peace of God which passes understanding keeping their hearts and minds but He also spoke about the God of peace. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and consider that we have both “the peace of God” and “the God of peace.” We must needs recognize that peace is not only a part of the nature of the eternal and living God but we must also recognize that peace is something which the living God gives unto us. Peace is not only something that we allow ourselves to experience but peace is also someone we allow ourselves to experience. As much as we would like to think and consider that peace is merely something we experience within ourselves we must needs recognize that peace is a person whom we worship and serve with our hearts, our souls and our spirits. Peace is indeed a person for the God we serve is the God of peace. If we want to truly experience peace within our hearts and our minds we must needs recognize that peace originates and flows from the living God.

 

With all of this being said the apostle Paul goes on to declare how he had learned in whatever state he was in to be content. The apostle Paul wrote how he both learned how to be abased and how to abound. Not only this but the apostle Paul would go on to declare how in all things he was instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. This would immediately be followed by the apostle Paul declaring how he can do all things through Christ which strengthens him. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that the context of being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him is in reference to being content in whatever situation he found himself in. The apostle Paul declaring that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength has at the very heart and center of it his learning and understanding how to be content in all things in this life. Oh perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can learn in this life is that of being content in whatsoever situation and position we find ourselves in knowing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Not only this but there must needs be the confidence that our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. How absolutely wonderful it is when we read these words and how the apostle Paul not only declared that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him but he would also go on to speak of how his God would supply all their need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this within our lives knowing that we can indeed do all things through Christ who strengthens us and that our God shall supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

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