But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than to blood of Abel
Hebrews xii, 22-24 NIV
The Body of Christ is the most mystical theme in Christian cosmology. The Body of Christ is simply too metaphysical and majestic for regular congregational contemplation. The Christian individual is not atomistic or supreme. The divine corporation is the lofty expression and illumination of the nature of Christ and the elect. I doubt I have heard more than a couple of sermons in Baptist churches I have attended. The notion of a Corporate Reality both inside and outside the local congregation must be too illogical for the practical American mind. The powerful symbol is the unmentioned theme of John’s gospel account of the Last Supper, the foot washing, and the new commandment to love. John xiii, 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. The church maintains intersubjectivity and interrelatedness. The interchange within the church is spiritual not sociological.
The church has the immediacy and homespun analogy of the body. The body is for purposes of the Lord. The redeemed body, nonetheless, is sexual and perhaps too problematic for sermonizing. Ever heard a sermon on the “Song of Solomon”? The powerful symbol of the body is very much about ‘family values’ and the sexual nature in its unique theological meaning. One divine role for man and another one for woman. The social character of the Body of Christ is sexual in the sense of being productive and complimentary, but it is not legal. Sex roles are spelled out by St. Paul who also said “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free”. The spiritual and life-giving service is the “mishpat” of Christ. The Church is then life-giving , as new converts attach to the Lord. The family has the father as the head and is a micro-church. The church has Christ as Head. A local church, however, is not the Body of Christ unless Christ is its Head and Authority and those within the congregation are His. Focus on the purposes of Jesus, not those of clergy or other secular or denominational authorities. Do not become slaves of men for we all have been purchased of Christ.
If the universal message of Christ does not shatter the human traditions and our religious non-profit corporations–then we are not versed in the read-lettered words of Jesus. The words of our Lord in regard to congregations speak of unity, authority, sufficiency, universality, and love. We have what we need if we hear the words of Jesus and obey Him. The unity of God with His people is the love story of the Bible. The fiery testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. One must receive the One sent. Christ is the Good Shepherd of His sheep. Christ gives the authority and gifts to build the spiritual unity of His people. The ultimate unity of the Risen Lord with the church is the Revelation and the Parousia. The last day will be a celebration for us.
Christ is not referred to as the Head of the local congregation if you peruse the founding documents of most churches. America has a church that is focused on personal, denominational, or patriotic aims. Our very words display a profound misunderstanding of the government of God. We have the approval of man but not God. Christ is King not preachers. Are we not in rebellion if we reject the way of God? The apostasy has trained expertise who distrust Him. The King anoints leaders His own way. Honor those He has honored with His heavenly Power and wisdom not those who have financial power. Chose men among you full of the Holy Spirit for those are anointed by Christ. Christ through the elders heals, corrects, feeds, washes and anoints the church. Christ is the Ground of all earthly and heavenly power . Give Him the honor that the Father has given Him. Come Lord Jesus.