The Greatest Story Ever Told About
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
The Church is made up of believers in Jesus Christ.  They are referred to as the body of
Christ.  This is the church as referred to in the scriptures.  At the time of the apostles, there
was no church as we have today, they used to meet from house to house or gather together
wherever they could.  Later churches were built, the one in Corinth being the most active and
to which the Apostle Paul wrote letters of instruction advising them of how to run a church in
an orderly fashion.  In those days, there was only one church in each place, but today there are
several because the church has been divided into several denominations, each one having
different doctrines.  Therefore, you will find that by reading the scriptures below, very little of
this is done in many churches.  Each church takes a portion of the Word of God that they are
comfortable with, and uses that part to establish the doctrine of their church.  I remember
when I first became a Christian and started fervently studying my Bible, I read some of these
passages, and went to see my pastor to find out why some of these things were not happening
in our church.  I still remember how my heart sank when he told me that their church doctrine
did not accept some of those practices.  I was very disappointed because I believed that if it
was in the Bible, we should do it.  I soon after left that church because I wanted more than they
could give me.

                                                                               Matthew 16:18
                                                                               And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this
                                                                               rock I will build my church, and the gates of
                                                                               hades will not overcome it.

                                                                               Jesus tells the disciple Peter that he will build
                                                                               his church on him.  And as we read in the next
                                                                               passage, Peter was very instrumental in
                                                                               starting the first "church" which was made up
                                                                               of those that accepted Jesus as their Saviour
                                                                               after Peter preached the message of Jesus on
                                                                               the Day of Pentecost.  

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of
bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs
were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they
continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate
together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Ephesians 2:19-22
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and
members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ
Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to
become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a
dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.   Paul describes how the church, the body of Christ
came to be.  When people turned to Jesus, they became part of the body of Christ and began to
fellowship and worship God together with other Christians.  

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Corinthians 12: 12-26
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they
form one body. So it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body whether
Jews or Greeks, slave or free and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Now the body is not
made up of one part but of many.  If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not
belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear
should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason
cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing
be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has
arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all
one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  The eye
cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need
you!"  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and
the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are
unpresentable are treated with special modesty,  while our presentable parts need no special
treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the
parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have
equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is
honored, every part rejoices with it.  

In the body of Christ, both then and now, there are people from many different backgrounds.  
Each person has something of value to contribute.  Each one has their strengths and
weaknesses.  Paul tells the church in Corinth to recognize that and to use the gifts they each
have to build up the body of Christ.  I remember when I first started going to church, I saw it as
a "world within a world" because Christians would come together from so many different
walks of life, and yet they were united in one common purpose, that being to worship God and
live in fellowship with him.

Ephesians 4:11-16
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some
to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of
Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God
and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no
longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind
of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead,
speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and
builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  
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The Church
Romans 12:4-8
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the
same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the
others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let
him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  if
it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give
generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it

God has brought many different people together into the body of Christ.  Each one has different
gifts and talents.  That is how the church was designed to function, with each one contributing
what they had for the benefit of all.  And as the body grows in unity, they become like minded
with their focus being on Christ, the head of the body and their talents and gifts being used to
build up the body of Christ.

1 Timothy 3:1-13
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble
task.  Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate,
self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but
gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own family well and see that
his children obey him with proper respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own
family, how can he take care of God's church?)  He must not be a recent convert, or he may
become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.  He must also have a good
reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.  Deacons,
likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing
dishonest gain.  They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.  
They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.  
In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but
temperate and trustworthy in everything.  A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and
must manage his children and his household well.  Those who have served well gain an
excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Timothy gives instructions for the qualifications of the leaders of the church.  This is important
because it will set the standard for the church and keep it focused on the Word of God and
Christ.  Over the years there have been problems in churches which could have been avoided
if there was more attention paid to this.

1 Corinthians 9:14
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their
living from the gospel.

Paul makes it clear that being a church leader is a full time job, therefore those that dedicated
their life to serving God and the church, should be paid for their work just like everyone else is
paid for their work.

1 Corinthians 14:26-40
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of
instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the
strengthening of the church.  If anyone speaks in a tongue, two or at the most three should
speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.  If there is no interpreter, the speaker should
keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.  Two or three prophets should speak,
and the others should weigh carefully what is said.  And if a revelation comes to someone who is
sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone
may be instructed and encouraged.  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of
prophets.  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the
saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be
in submission, as the Law says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their
own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.  Did the word of
God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?  If anybody thinks he is a
prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's
command.  If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.  Therefore, my brothers, be eager to
prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.  But everything should be done in a fitting and
orderly way.

The church in Corinth was very eager to use all the gifts and was very lively and aggressive.  
Paul had to set out guidelines for them so that they could function in an orderly fashion.  Today,
you will rarely find a church that holds their "church services" in this fashion.  It is too bad
because each member of the body has something to contribute, but in most churches there is
no opportunity for them to do so.  I think most churches would benefit much more by practicing
the things that the Bible says they should.

Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one
another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Here Paul encourages us to go to church.  Even today, some people go every Sunday and
some go once a year.  

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the
pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you.  

Each one of us is a temple in which God lives.  God does not only live in a church, or in heaven,
he also lives in each one of us by his Holy Spirit.  We do not have to go to church to visit God.  
We go to church to worship God and to fellowship with other believers.   Therefore, we should
honor God with our body as a temple holy unto God.
1 Corinthians 12:28
And in the church God has appointed first of
all apostles, second prophets, third teachers,
then workers of miracles, also those having
gifts of healing, those able to help others,
those with gifts of administration and those
speaking in different kinds of tongues