August 2009 • Volume XII, Issue 16
One Body Animated by One Spirit (1)
Ephesians 4:4-6 declares, " There is one body, and
one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  one
Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is
above all, and through all, and in you all." The outstanding feature of
this text is its repetition of the word "one." Seven times that numeral
is used: thrice in verse 4, thrice in verse 5 and once in verse 6. Not
once does this text use dualities or pluralities. It does not speak of
two hopes or three faiths or four baptisms. It is "one" and only "one"
right the way through: "one body," "one Spirit," "one hope," "one Lord,"
"one faith," "one baptism," "one God and Father of all." This is a
remarkable emphasis on oneness.
But what is the main thought which forms the organizing principle of
these seven "ones"? It is the first "one" of the text: "There is one
body" (4). The one body is the church, as the context teaches. Moreover,
the "one body" is to be taken together with "one Spirit." Not only is
"one Spirit" prominent in the preceding verse (3) and next in the text
(4), but it is also joined to "one body" by the conjunction "and"—the
only "and" between any of the seven "ones." Moreover, "one body, and one
Spirit" is somewhat separated from the five later "ones." So it comes
down to this: the main idea is the "one body, and one Spirit" (4), which
is further developed by the five succeeding "ones" (4-6).
In what sense is the church spoken of as "one body" in Ephesians 4:4? It
is not referring to the various instituted churches. They are not
numerically one; they are many. They are not doctrinally one; they
differ among themselves. The "one body" in the text is the invisible
organism of the church—all those who live out of Jesus Christ crucified,
all the elect of all ages and nations, who are beloved of God who alone
sees the heart. This invisible organism—the "one body"—is what we
confess in the Apostles’ Creed: "I believe an holy, catholic church; the
communion of saints."
The invisible organism of the church is called a body because it
consists of many parts with various roles and functions, like a human
body which has tendons and ears and knuckles and kidneys and a duodenum,
etc., with all its multitudinous parts joined together into one
harmonious whole. The body of the church is alive, like a human body,
for it is united to Jesus Christ, the head.
God’s invisible church is one body—and must be one
and can never be two or more— because it is predestinated as one body,
with all the elect having their own particular role, you included,
believer. It is redeemed as one body, for Christ died for the church and
gave Himself for her (5:25). It is glorified as one body forever and
ever in the new heavens and new earth. Rev. Stewart
Hypocrites in the Church
Question: "How can exorcists be unsaved (Matt. 7:22-23)? And where does
iniquity figure in the matter?"
Matthew 7:21-23 reads, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my
Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out
devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work
You will notice that, although the questioner asks only concerning
verses 22 and 23, I have quoted verse 21 as well, for it belongs to the
passage and, indeed, contains the key to the understanding of the
Further, the broader context in which these words of Jesus are found
include verses 15-20, in which Jesus warns against false prophets who
seem to be godly and pious folk, but who are "ravening wolves" (15)
whose sole motive in entering the sheepfold of Christ is to destroy the
flock, frequently by milking the people of as much of their financial
resources as is possible and, consequently, living in luxury themselves.
Today, the world is full of such preachers and evangelists. They
proclaim their false doctrine on radio and TV, and in huge auditoriums
where they can, with advertising that would make many businesses
covetous, display their wares under the guise of religion. It is an
accurate measure of the sad state of religion in the world today that
these charlatans can draw thousands of people and persuade them to part
with their financial resources so easily.
However that may be, the questioner makes two assumptions that are
related to each other but that need to be questioned. The first is that
in our modern era there is something similar to demon possession as was
to be found in Palestine during the years of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In
fact, the devil, being well aware of the Lord’s presence on earth to
accomplish our salvation, made a powerful show of his opposition to
Christ by the many instances of demon possession that filled the land.
But this is quite different from today. Whether there is still demon
possession today in the sense in which it was present in Palestine is a
moot question. I talked once to a Christian psychiatrist who had seen
hundreds of mental patients. I asked him whether he had ever seen a
demon-possessed person. His answer, after some thought, was: "I may have
seen such a person once or twice; but I cannot be sure."
I say that it is a moot question because the instances of demon
possession present in Palestine were for the most part physical. Today,
demon possession manifests itself in a far worse and far more dreadful
spiritual demon possession. The world of wicked men is under the control
of Satan so completely that, as sin continues to develop, Satan has his
way with men in the execution of his purpose. Not the Hitlers and
Stalins only; not the brutal mafia and gang-inspired murderers only; not
the homosexuals and abortionists only; but also the evolutionists in the
universities, the atheists in the pulpits, the man down the street
divorced and remarried three times, the houses of prostitution—all these
are evidences of a far worse demon possession than Jesus encountered. In
fact, He sovereignly decreed these horrible physical manifestations of
demon possession to demonstrate vividly the terrible reality of a
spiritual demon possession, which Christ Himself overcomes in the
establishment of His kingdom (12:28).
In short, exorcists are charlatans. How are today’s demon-possessed
people delivered from demons? By the preaching of the gospel of
salvation in Christ, made effective by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of
the elect. That is the important thing!
Although the questioner refers especially to exorcists in his question,
the Lord is not limiting Himself to such quacks. He speaks of those who
prophesy, who do many wonderful works, who say "Lord, Lord" and claim to
glorify His name. That is, there are hypocrites in the church world who
claim that they are religious and pious, who profess that they serve the
Lord, but who, in fact, do not. These hypocrites are everywhere, filling
the minds and hearts of gullible people with false ideas concerning what
religion is all about. They are a plague on the church and give to true
religion a bad name throughout society.
But there are also hypocrites in the true churches. These are people who
profess to be children of God, who are in church every Lord’s day, who
do not commit adultery with their neighbour’s wife, who never defraud
their fellow man and who even have religion on their lips. They are
frequently heard to say, "Lord, Lord."
Whether they be in the local Pentecostal tabernacle, in the studio of a
television network, in the mission committee of a local church or
distributing pamphlets on religious subjects, their piety is external.
Even if they claim to prophesy, to cast out devils, to do great works
"for the Lord," their religion is external and of no account before God.
God is interested in only one thing: "Does Mr. Smyth do My will?" That
is all. He that doeth the will of the Father which is in heaven is the
true citizen of the kingdom. Not an outward religion, not mighty works
of charity, not charisma on the TV screen, not eloquent words of a
religious sort: nothing of this kind is good in God’s sight.
The same high-powered evangelist who claims to heal the sick is out
driving past beggars in his new Jaguar and has just left his
sixteen-room mansion. The man in the front pew on Sunday morning can not
wait to get outside to play his 18 holes of golf. The chairman of the
church’s building committee has just divorced his wife. The leader in
the Sunday School flirts with some young girl in one of his classes.
But there is also the man who seems to be listening intently to the
sermon, but who comes to church only out of fear of an elder’s visit, or
must, he thinks, leave his fellow parishioners with an exalted view of
his extraordinary piety, or is plotting how he can outwit his boss to
earn a little extra money, or who donates vast sums to the church’s many
projects, but takes the Lord’s name in vain on his job.
The church has people who listen to the preaching and rave about the
powerful sermon they have just heard as the minister tells them how good
they are, but who ignore the preaching that condemns sin and calls to
repentance, and who are quick to point their finger at the man across
the aisle, while in their hearts they almost literally mimic the
Pharisee, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are" (Luke
Thankfully, there are also those who do the will of the Father in
heaven. They confess with awe and amazement that the everlasting God is
their Saviour and they bring their silent prayers of thankful worship to
Him every day. They are frequently mothers in the home who bear the
burdens of caring for their children and families and who are intent on
showing their children the ways of God’s covenant. There are homes where
fathers lead their families in Bible teaching and prayer and who work
long, hard hours that they may help the poor, support Christian
education and promote the preaching of the gospel. They do not sit in
church critical of the minister, of the sermon, of the elders or of
their fellow saints. As they listen, a tear may fall down their cheeks
as, in humble repentance, they confess their sins and plead for mercy.
Their deeds are written in the records of heaven, because no one but God
notices them. They are continually in prayer for divine succour, for
they know with absolute certainty that God gives grace to the humble and
strength to those who rely on Christ.
And at the judgment, they are not to be found among those who say,
"Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or
naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Did not we
send a check for a thousand dollars to Uganda to feed the poor? Did not
we organize a ‘Help For Africa’ committee and send out brochures to
thousands of addresses to solicit funds? Did not we put our hands on
deaf people and restore their hearing—on public television?" But the
Lord’s answer is: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels. Inasmuch as ye did it not to one
of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
But there are others who say to Him who is on the great, white throne,
"Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave
thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and
clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto
thee? We can not remember doing any of these things, for we are great
sinners who deserve nothing." To them the Lord will say, "Come, ye
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the
least of these my brethren [to your little children when with a kiss you
put a plaster on a skinned knee and told them to look to the Lord; to a
crippled saint in your church for whom you baked a cherry pie], ye have
done it unto me." Read Matthew 25:31-46. Prof. Hanko
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