You Are Part of the Body of Christ
You are closely connected to Jesus and every other believer
Doug Britton, MFT
Introduction: The big picture
When you became a believer, God’s Spirit took up residence in you, and you became a temple of the Holy Spirit. In this study, you will read about something else that happened at the same time. Not only did you become an individual temple when you became a believer, you also became part of a much a larger temple—one that includes every other believer in the world.
When you realize you are part of this temple, you can see that your relationship with God is not simply “God and me.” It also is “God and us.” You are part of something indescribably significant. You share an intimate spiritual connection with every other believer in the world.
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21-22)
The temple was much more than a building. It was a God-ordained place where people could experience God’s presence, offer sacrifices, and hear his instructions.
When the Bible says you are part of God’s temple, it is saying that the connection between you and every other Christian is profound and deep.
Related: Am I a child of God?
Make it personal
1. What does it mean to say that your identity is not simply “God and me,” it is also “God and us”?
2. What do you think the Bible means when it says “you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22)?
You are part of the body of Christ
Another way the Bible describes how closely connected Christians are is to describe us as the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the head. You can’t be much more closely connected than being part of the same body.
To understand what this means, imagine you are looking at one person. This person has a body which is composed of many parts, all of which should be working in unity. That’s the vision Jesus has for us, his body.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:4-8)
What do you think?
3. What do you think the Bible means when it says that “we who are many form one body” (Romans 12:5)?
4. What do you think it means when it says that “each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:5)?
You are an important part of Christ’s body
Just as every part of your own body is important, every believer is important to the body of Christ. Each of us has a purpose. That includes you!
For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:13-20)
If you continue reading 1 Corinthians 12, you will see that verses 21-27 say that God gives special honor to those who seem weaker or less honorable. That means regardless of your abilities, gifts, or position in life, you have an important role to play.
Make it personal
5. Do you sometimes think you don’t have a purpose in life, or that your life doesn’t have any meaning?
6. After reading 1 Corinthians 12:13-20, what do you think God would say to you if you said, “I don’t have a purpose in life”?
7. Do the verses in Ephesians 12:13-20 encourage you?
Enjoy unity, harmony, and love with other members of the body
It can dramatically change the way you look at other believers when you begin to grasp how closely connected you are to every other Christian. You begin to see the importance of treating everyone with respect and love. You become concerned about others’ welfare.
As you read the following verses, ask God to help you catch a vision of what it means to be part of the body of Christ. Ask him to help you appreciate and love other believers, regardless of their race, ethnicity, denomination, intelligence, social status, or appearance.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:16)
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. (Romans 12:17)
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
Make it personal
8. What are the key themes in the previous verses? How important are they to God?
9. Have you looked down on some other believers? If so, will this study on the body of Christ help you look at them differently?
Related: How to love others as-is
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5)
Make it personal
1. How important is it to know that all Christians collectively comprise the body of Christ? Explain your answer:
2. The Bible says all believers make up the body of Christ. What does that mean? How can the vast number of Christians around the world be one entity?
3. The Bible says each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:5). What does this mean?
4. What would you say to someone who says he or she is not an important part of the body of Christ?
5. Why is it important to encourage other believers (Hebrews 10:25)?
6. Why is important to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”? (Ephesians 4:3)
7. What does it mean to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love” and to “honor one another above yourselves”? (Romans 12:10)
8. How does this Bible study on the Body of Christ impact the way you look at other believers:
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About Doug Britton, MFT
Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)
Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.