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Unity in the Body of Christ: A Bible Study or Sunday School Lesson

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Your Assessment of the Body of Christ



The apostle Paul's teachings on the importance of unity in the body of Christ are too often overlooked or ignored by believers in Jesus who often suffer from division and strife in their churches and in the church as a whole. Start by asking yourself what it means to have unity in the body of Christ. Can you think of real-life examples? What would you say is the state of the body of Christ in your church and in the church in general as far as unity is concerned? These same questions can be asked in a group Bible study, a private study or during a Sunday school lesson.

Body of Christ Verses



After pondering your answers to those questions about unity in the body of Christ, you're ready to see how the apostle Paul taught on this vitally important topic. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-22, he says, "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 feeble, are necessary."

Essentially, Paul makes a comparison between natural body parts and spiritual body parts (members of the church) to explain the importance of unity in the body of Christ.

A Real World Example of Spiritual Truths



Paul makes mention of specific parts of the body such as the eyes, ears, hands, and feet in correlation with spiritual body parts. However, the message still might not be fully grasped. Let's take a look at how the parts of the body of a person in a building when a fire breaks out cooperate to save the entire being. We will see the extreme importance of unity in the natural body and compare it to unity in the body of Christ.

Somebody is alone in a building when a major fire breaks out. Smoke is smelled; the nose has done its job in the need to ensure that the body survives. Now the body must get up and get out of the burning building, the threat to its life. It stands up and runs because the legs and the feet do their job. They do what the nose couldn't do, but the body is running because the nose smelled the smoke.

As the body runs to save itself, it has to see where it's going. The eyes are at work to guide the feet and legs as they run. The body reaches a door leading to the outside--to safety. The nose, eyes, legs and feet are now depending on at least one arm and one hand to grab the door knob and turn it or to push it to open it. The various parts of the body all worked together for the rescue of the entire being. The nose didn't try to do the job of the eyes nor the eyes the job of the hands, because each member of the body was designed to do a specific job as part of one unit.

Although this is a very simplified example of how the parts of such a complex body operate, the message is one of cooperation and interdependence. The concept is very much the same when considering the necessity of unity in the body of Christ. The members of the body of Christ are true, born-again believers in the Son of God. One very unfortunate mistake is often made by some Christians with good intentions to be obedient to the scriptures that command unity in the body of Christ. Ask yourself or your student, "What might that mistake be?"

Unity in the Body of False Christs



Believers in the Son of God must guard against being so zealous to see unity in the body of Christ that they embrace, as brethren, people who believe in a false Jesus. In Matthew 24:24-26, we read the solemn warnings of the Lord Jesus against the deception of false Christs and false prophets. Obviously, false Christs and false prophets have a following just as the true Christ of God has followers. The true body of Christ should reject unity with the body of a false Christ.

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