H. E. Hayhoe
It is recommended that the reader look up the references indicated while studying.
I. The House of God
- The word Church means “called out ones” (ek-klesia).
- The first time that the Church is mentioned in Scripture is in Matthew 16:18. Here, it is seen in the sense of its character as the “house of God” with Christ as the builder (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4, 5).
- The “Rock” upon which it is built is Christ.
- When man builds, it is subject to review and judgment. Man has the warning as to bad material and its consequent judgment (1 Corinthians 3:9-17).
- Peter does not get the keys of the Church, nor of heaven, but of “the kingdom of heaven.” Thus, Peter uses these keys to open the door of grace in the gospel to the Jews in Acts 2, and to the Gentiles in Acts 10. This, Peter, refers to in respect of the Gentiles in Acts 15:7.
- To be a “living stone” of the house, one must be born again, as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:23.
- In Peter’s second epistle, he shows the coming judgment upon those who are in the house, but not having life, they fall into corruption and are judged with the world. In this way, the house comprises a wider sphere to include the sphere of profession and those who are real believers (the sphere of reality).
- When we speak of the Church as the Body of Christ, Scripture always views the Body as being comprised of true believers with the vital link to the Head in heaven.
- The Christian is exhorted to have Christ as his pattern, as one in the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15).
The Body of Christ
- The Church as “the house” and as “the body of Christ” began on the day of Pentecost. Acts, chapter 2, records the way in which it took place; and 1 Corinthians 12:13, tells us that all were then baptized by ONE SPIRIT into ONE BODY.
- This was a “saved remnant” from among the Jews, to which was afterwards added the Gentiles in Acts, chapter 10. This was fulfilling the word in John 10:16, which is correctly rendered “one flock,” and also the word in chapter 11:52, which speaks of the gathering together “in one” the children of God that were scattered abroad.
- Paul received by revelation the wondrous mystery of what had taken place. Christ and we are one! (Ephesians 3:1-7).
- We may get bad material when the church is viewed as the house, for man may add that which is not real; but all is good material when it is the body, for it is the Holy Spirit that unites to Christ in glory.
- The “one loaf” on the table in the breaking of bread is a precious symbol of this unity formed by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:17). Such an assembly is an “assembly of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
- The truth of the one Body of Christ, and its unity of the Spirit, is the only recognized basis or grounds for meeting together “in assembly” according to Scripture.