One body IN CHRIST

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One Body

Sunday 03/03/24

Title: One body in Christ

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One body in Christ

Well our worship was a little out of the ordinary this morning by design and I will get to WHY in a moment. 

Before that I want to bridge the gap between last week and this by reminding you of what we’ve covered since we cracked open the letter to the Ephesians a few weeks ago.

One of the first things I told you was that “IN CHRIST” is the key phrase of this letter to the Ephesian believers. EVERYTHING in the Christian life is centered on and found IN Christ and that could not be more literal!

We read quite plainly that now that we are IN CHRIST, we HAVE BEEN blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing AND that our MINDS have already been enlightened.

In fact Paul admitted to praying often over these believers in Ephesus that with their ENLIGHTENED MINDS they would be able to fully comprehend and appreciate THREE truths associated with their lives IN CHRIST. These things are central to the heart of God and are therefore VERY VERY VERY important!

The first two we covered last week and the last one we will cover today.

But before we go there, I want to introduce one last major focus of this letter – it is this point that led me to play the songs of worship I did today.

It represents the overarching blessing we have received IN CHRIST and that is that we have been made ONE with believing in Israel.

Now this is more overwhelming than I think most modern Christians have any ability to truly appreciate.

All Israel is found in Isaac and Isaac is found in the faith and obedience of Abraham and Sarah both of whom are our spiritual parents!

God had searched the earth since Noah to find a heart He could work with – through whom He could establish a covenant of trust and so usher in Messiah. He found that man in Abram!

Abraham received right standing with God by FAITH LONG before circumcision and the Law. Furthermore, he and Sarah both believed God regarding His promise of a child who was a foreshadow of Christ AND us!

Remember that last week I took you to Romans where it clearly stated that ONLY those who are of faith are the seed of Abraham and therefore Children of God! We who have believed INTO Christ ARE the TRUE ISRAEL!

The next MAJOR truth revealed in this letter is that IN CHRIST God was bringing together everyone who had ever called upon His name both in heaven and on earth – together IN CHRIST as ONE BODY.

The most immediate expression of this in the early church world was the bringing together into one body the Jews and the Gentiles.

Now this is old news to us, but was a HUGE revelation to the early believers!

Which brings us full circle to our worship service this morning.

I thought, why not have music that exemplified the union we are to enjoy.

There were musicians from several ethnic backgrounds all singing songs of worship and adoration to our ONE GOD. Songs written and used in worship by both Jews and Gentiles!

The song ‘There in no one like You’ was written by the two Jewish men in the video Joshua Aaron and Aaron Shust

The song ‘Because He lives’ was written by the Gathered’s here in America and the song ‘How Great Thou art’ was originally written by a Swedish man named Carl Boberg and was translated (with poetic license) by a British man named Stuart Hine in 1949

The living example being that they were all together on one stage, singing songs about our common Messiah to the One God we all love, worship and admire – right there at the Garden tomb and the Tower of David in Israel!

It is beautiful!

Later in one of the videos, a song written in collaboration between South American Indian Chief Joseph and Joshua Aaron was sung on stage with other believers – Jews and Gentiles all together from every corner of the world in praise to God!

Now remember that we are in the “BLESSINGS section” of the letter right now. 

Remember also that Paul said that we HAVE been blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing.

So now that we have been made ONE IN CHRISTJews and Gentiles, Paul stresses that ALL that was spiritually promised to Israel is now ours IN CHRIST

Now I am choosing my words carefully here.

We have been made one with believing in Israel.

Just like I read to you last week. Not all who are born of the flesh through the lineage of Arbraham are God’s children, but only those who are of faith – those are the true children of God. They are the seed who were in Isaac. “In Isaac will your seed be called” [Genesis 21:12; Rom. 9:7 & Heb. 11:18]  which is to say, the called are those who are born by faith rather than by the works of the flesh like Ishmael was.

Then I said we have been blessing with every spiritual blessings promised to believing Israel. I say “spiritually blessings” because the natural Jews who will come to Christ during and at the end of the Great Tribulation WILL INHERIT the promised land under the direct rulership of Jesus their Messiah for 1,000 years before the earth is renewed and we all step into the perfect and eternal age.

We will rule and reign with Christ during that time, but the natural inheritance will be to the Jews.

All of the spiritual promises however, of union with God and right-standing with Him – the benefits of being able, to without condemnation, have the law fulfilled in and through us IN CHRIST by the Spirit and being the recipients of our spiritual inheritance in Christ is ALL ours along with our Jewish brethren who are born anew through faith in Jesus their Messiah.

This is why once we get to the beginning of chapter 4 Paul emphasizes our unity with the Jews saying…

“(4) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  (5)  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  (6)  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  (7)  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” – Ephesians 4:4-7

So let’s start in chapter 1 again and read through with as little commentary as possible until we reach where we left off last week.

Just so you know, it is my intention to get to the end of chapter 3 today. We will see if that works out or not.

Ephesians 1:1-23,

“(1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:  

(2)  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

(3)  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN CHRIST,  (4)  just as He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  (5)  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,  (6)  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  

(7)  IN HIM we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace  (8)  which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,  (9)  having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,  (10)  that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—IN HIM.  

(11)  IN HIM also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him Who works all things according to the counsel of His will,  (12)  that we Who first trusted IN CHRIST should be to the praise of His glory.  

(13)  IN HIM you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; IN WHOM also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,  (14)  Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.  

(15)  Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  (16)  do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:  

(17)  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,  (18)  the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; THATYOUMAYKNOW

  • what is the hope of His calling, 
  • what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,  
  • (19)  and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, 

according to the working of His mighty power  (20)  which He worked IN CHRIST when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,  (21)  far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  

(22)  And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,  (23)  which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Now last week I told you about the various hopes of our calling.

I told you about our being God’s inheritance and this now I want to press that one a little more and then illustrate the last one which is the exceeding greatness of His power to us as believers.

Revelation tells us the beginning of God rejoicing over His inheritance He has in us by saying,

“(1) Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  (2)  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (3)  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  (4)  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  (5)  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  (6)  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  (7)  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” – Revelation 21:1-7

Now all of these are the result of OUR great inheritance. It is what makes these future realities possible.

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:19-22, “(19) Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  (20)  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,  (21)  IN WHOM the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,  (22)  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

The Scriptures are FULL of passages which address all three of these blessings, but the passage in Romans chapter 9 kinda captures all of these thoughts together in one place and that will allow us to press on to chapter 2…

Romans 9:21-33, “(21) Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?  (22)  What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,  (23)  and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,  (24)  even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?  (25)  As He says also in Hosea: “I WILL CALL THEM MY PEOPLE, WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, AND HER BELOVED, WHO WAS NOT BELOVED.”  (26)  “AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’ THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”  (27)  Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BE AS THE SAND OF THE SEA, THE REMNANT WILL BE SAVED.  (28)  FOR HE WILL FINISH THE WORK AND CUT IT SHORT IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, BECAUSE THE LORD WILL MAKE A SHORT WORK UPON THE EARTH.”  (29)  And as Isaiah said before: “UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT US A SEED, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE LIKE GOMORRAH.”  (30)  What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;  (31)  but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  (32)  Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  (33)  As it is written: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STUMBLING STONE AND ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME.”

Ephesians 2:1-22, 

“(1) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,  (2)  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,  (3)  among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  

(4)  BUT GOD, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  (5)  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  (6)  and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  (7)  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  

(8)  FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  (9)  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  

(10)  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  

(11)  Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— (12)  that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  

(13)  But now IN CHRIST Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  


Who HAS made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,  (15)  having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,  

(16)  AND that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.  

(17)  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off [the Gentiles]

and to those who were near. [the Jews]


(19)  Now, therefore, 


(20)  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,  (21)  IN WHOM the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,  (22)  IN WHOM you also are being built together for A DWELLING PLACE OF GOD IN THE SPIRIT.”

THAT is a snapshot of the three things Paul was praying they would be able to fully grasp in their enlightened minds (1:18)!


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!