Ephesians 4:11-13 says, "He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
The kinds of people spoken of here are slightly different from those spoken of in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. The people here are all ministers of the word. God’s intention in giving the church these ministers of the word is for the building up of the Body of Christ. The ministers of the word have a special place in the building up of the Body of Christ. For the building up of the Body of Christ, we should ask God for more ministers of the word.
At the same time, the church should provide ample opportunities for new believers to manifest themselves, to see whether they are ministers of the word. We should not hinder the gifts that God has given them. We should not take away their opportunity to manifest themselves as ministers of the word. For the Body of Christ to be built up, the church must ask God for more ministers of the word. It must also provide ample opportunities for each one to manifest himself as a minister of the word.
First Corinthians 10:16-17 says, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ? Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread."
The church is the Body of Christ. Therefore, its mission on earth is to express this Body and to manifest the oneness of this Body. It should show everyone that the Body is one. The church does not need to wait until it is in heaven before expressing the oneness of the Body. It expresses the oneness of the Body while it is here on earth.
"Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body." In the New Testament the breaking of bread is a very important matter. Whenever we come on the Lord’s Day to break bread and remember the Lord, we acknowledge that the Lord has broken His body for us. We also express that the Body is one. The breaking of bread signifies the Lord’s giving of Himself in love on the cross for us; the oneness speaks of the union among God’s children. Every Lord’s Day we come to the Lord to acknowledge that His body was broken for us and that all of God’s children are one. On the one hand, we testify that the Lord’s body was broken for us. On the other hand, we testify that the church is the Body of Christ and that this Body is one. We who are many are one bread and one Body. We express this oneness. Whoever understands the Body of Christ renders this testimony on the Lord’s Day. On this day he testifies that there is only one bread. In the eyes of God, this bread is the center of all the meetings. God’s children should gather together for the purpose of breaking bread and fellowshipping with one another. The more one understands the Body of Christ, the more he will testify of the oneness of the Body through the breaking of bread. The breaking of bread is a remembrance of the Lord’s death, and it is an expression of the oneness of the Body. "Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body." We do this to show the world, the universe, and the whole creation that the church is one Body!
May the Lord be gracious to us, and may He show us clearly that the basis for forming the church is the Body of Christ. We are members one of another in the Body. Through the baptism of the Spirit, we are constituted as one Body. Thus our fellowship should be based only on the Body of Christ. In the Body every member has its function and every member should serve. We should ask God for more ministers of the word on behalf of the church, ministers who will perfect the saints to the work of the ministry unto the building up of the Body of Christ. We should also express the testimony of the oneness of this Body through the breaking of bread. May God bless all of us!
(New Believers Series: Body of Christ, The #24, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)