The Body Formed in Eternity Past Podcast for Pastor John MacArthur for Grace to You
One of the keys to unlocking the book of Ephesians is to understand that it is an epistle built around the concept of the church as the body of Christ. There are many metaphors in the New Testament used to describe the church. The church is called a bride; the church is called a family, a household, a kingdom; the church is called a flock; the church is called a building; the church is called a vine and branches.
There are many ways in which the Spirit of God has designed to give us a picture of the church, but uniquely, the church is called the body of Christ, because I believe, above all other metaphors, the one which most aptly communicates the unity and yet diversity and mutuality within the church is that of a body. As a human body, it functions in an incredible, multiple-phase operation. As it functions totally dependent upon every muscle, and tissue, and nerve, and everything else, so does the church function. As the human body receives all of its direction from the head, so does the church from the Lord Jesus Christ. And as the body manifests the person in the world, so does the church manifest Christ in the world.
And so, I think uniquely the body is the most beautiful symbol for the church. And in fact, all the other metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the church are also used in the Old Testament to describe Israel except the metaphor of a body. That is the unique identification of the church. And thus, it is the mystery of the church as the body, the hidden secret never known in the past and now revealed in the new age. And so, the church then is the body of Christ. And as we go through Ephesians, we’re going to see how the parallels operate between the way a human body works and the way the church is to work, we’ll see a little of that in our study tonight as well.