Summary: First in a 4 part series concerning how we all work together as one body under Jesus Christ as our head.


Due to the large amount of sermons and topics that appear on this site I feel it is necessary to post this disclaimer on all sermons posted. These sermons are original to the author and the leading of the Holy Spirit. While ideas and illustrations are often gleaned from many sources including those at, any similarities and wording, including sermon titles, that may appear to be the same as any other sermon are purely coincidental. In instances where other minister’s wording is used, due recognition will be given. These sermons are not copyrighted and may be used or preached freely. May God richly bless you as you read these sermons. It is my sincere desire that all who read them may be enriched. All scriptures quoted in these sermons are copied and/or quoted from the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Pastor James May


A teaching series for the ministry and members of the Body of Christ, both universally and in the local church.

By Rev. James May

Read I Corinthians 12:4-31; 13:1-13

Let us begin by recognizing that there is a double meaning or inference to the term “Body of Christ” as pertains to this series. The first entity that is called the Body of Christ is the universal Church. This does not pertain to any one church organization or to any single religious organization but this refers to every born again Child of God regardless of race, religion, creed or nationality. Every true Christian who believes in, serves, loves and accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, and whose lives bear the fruit and mark of the presence of God in their lives, is a part of this universal Body of Christ.

In the universal body of Christ there are those who place upon themselves the titles of Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist or any one of a multitude of Organizational titles. These titles often become more of a division or a hindrance to the working of the body because of doctrinal differences. Indeed, some of those divisions are the result of man’s efforts to interpret the Word of God in his own intelligence and without the mind of Christ to give the wisdom necessary for that interpretation.

As a result of these man-made divisions in doctrine and interpretation, there has entered into the church damnable heresies that are not only contrary to the Word of God as it should be correctly interpreted, they are deadly if adhered to without carefully examining their impact according to the Word of God and how they apply to our spiritual life.

Here are a few examples:

The doctrine of Unconditional Eternal Security

While the Bible does teach eternal security in Christ it does not teach that such security is “unconditional”. Every facet of the Christian life and every blessing of God are based upon conditions of obedience to his Word in holiness and sanctification, dependence upon his deliverance and power to provide our every need through faith, and continued faithfulness to the calling and election of God upon our lives.

A few of the verses that are incorrectly interpreted to teach this doctrine are:

John 10:27-29, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand."

According to some, the interpretation of this would mean that once we are saved, we cannot lose that salvation because the scripture says that “they shall never perish” and that no man can “pluck them out of my hand”, meaning the hand of the Father in Heaven.

Who can argue that the Father in Heaven does not have the power to keep that which we have committed to him? Paul stated this in his letter to Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:12, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

Yes, the Father in Heaven is able, willing and ready to keep our souls in his hand and no man can reach into his hand and steal our souls from his grip.

But there is another view to this scene that we must consider. God the Father will never overstep the bounds of our own will. He does not create us to be obedient robots that can never fail, never sin, and never decide to stop serving him. God gives us the new birth and grafts us into his family as adopted children because he desires to have those who will serve him of their own free will.

Allowing his children to have a free will to serve him also allows them to choose not to serve him. There are multitudes of people who will choose to follow the Lord and there is no doubt that they have surrendered their lives and hearts to the will of God. Then after a time, their love grows cold and they walk away from God to go back into the world of sin where they once lived.

Of course we have the right, as his child, to seek forgiveness for our sin.

1 John 2:1-5, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."

Along with the ability to choose to fall on our face in repentance, we also have the choice to continue in sin. By choosing to continue in sin we are placed in danger of once again becoming a child of Satan. God cleanses all sin from our hearts at salvation through the Blood of Christ but that clean, swept and pure heart can be once again inhabited by sin and it can be inhabited by far deeper sin than before.

Matthew 12:43-45, "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." (See also Luke 11:24-26)

We cannot say that we are Christian, saved and eternally secure in the life of the Spirit if we do not serve the Lord. When we yield our lives to live in sin, then we become the servant of that sin, not the servant of God.

Romans 6:16 says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

If we are the servants of sin, then eternal life is not ours.

Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

There is a very real danger that once a man begins that downward walk, away from the truth of the gospel; away from the life of holiness and sanctification; away from the influence of the Holy Spirit; away from the Word of God; and away from the Body of Christ; that he will go so far into the depths of sin that he will no longer care for, nor think of the things of God any longer. He becomes totally engrossed in sin and gives no thought of salvation and eternal life. In effect, he turns his back on God and walks away forever.

Of course there is repentance for those who “backslide” from God. At any moment, as the Holy Spirit deals with us, we can return to the Father, seek and find forgiveness. But, sad to say, there are many who refuse to turn back and thus fall into eternal damnation.

Hebrews 6:4-6, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

We must never think that we can live in sin and make Heaven our home. Sin can never enter there. I know that we all sin, but we must continually be washed and cleansed lest we are found unworthy to enter in.

Hebrews 12:15-18, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."

The Doctrine of Prayer to and Worship of Mary the Mother of Jesus

While no one can deny the fact that Mary was a very blessed woman to have been chosen by God to bring forth his only Son to be the Savior of the world, it is error to elevate her to a place of virtual Godhood. The first and greatest commandment is that we shall have no other gods but one and that we must love him above all else.

Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Matthew 22:36-38, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."

Our Catholic friends have gone beyond the admiration of Mary as a blessed virgin, or as a wonderful saint of God that stands on an equal plane with all other saved, born again people of God who are all saints according to God’s Word.

Romans 16:15, "Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them."

Philippians 1:1, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:"

Philippians 4:21-22, "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household."

Psalms 30:4, "Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."

Mary was not born without sin. She was not conceived by the Holy Spirit as was Jesus. She was born just as every other person, under the effects of the sin of man. She had to accept Jesus as Savior, more than just her son, but as the Son of God.

David said in Psalms 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

David is no less a saint than Mary. Yet he recognizes the fact that he was born in sin and so was Mary and every other person who was born of natural means. We are all born of the flesh with an earthly father and an earthly mother. Mary’s earthly father was Heli.

How do we know this? Look at Luke 3:23, "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli." Now compare that with Matthew 1:16, "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."

The genealogy of Jesus which is found in Luke 3:23-38 is the physical linage

of Jesus - the ancestry of Mary. (Jesus was assumed to be the son of Joseph, but he was really the "son of Heli,..." (according to Jewish lines of ancestry).

Jesus was not born of an earthly father but Mary was.

Therefore, Heli was Mary’s father, but Jesus’ father was God.

I have no doubt that Mary is in Heaven today but she is not the mediator between God and man.

1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

Hebrews 12:24, "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."

Bumper stickers that say, “If you can’t find Jesus, pray to his mother” aren’t just wrong, they are blasphemous. To infer that Mary will hear and answer your prayer before the Lord will is ridiculous. To imply that Mary will somehow wake Jesus up and pray for you in your hour of need is to place your faith in Mary and not in Christ.

Mary didn’t die on that cross for me. Mary’s blood has not power to cleanse you from sin. Mary was no more elevated in the sight of God than any other Christian who allows God to use them to do his will. Mary was not the Messiah and she is no more of a saint than any other saint, alive or with the Lord. She was, and is, one member of the family of God.

This doctrine of the worship of Mary as a divine person above Jesus as his mother and equal to Jesus in her ability to hear and answer prayer is idolatry in every way. Mary is in Heaven today and if she only knew what men have made her, she would be astonished.

This doctrine alone is the very reason that many protestant organizations look upon the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church as idolatrous and blasphemous and rightly so. Are there true Christians within the Catholic Church? I believe that there are some who don’t believe in Mary as god and that trust only in Jesus. But, I don’t believe that the vast majority will ever enter Heaven for they are trusting in and worshipping the wrong god.

It has been taught by many that because of this worship of Mary and a number of other erroneous doctrines that do not line up with the Word of God; and the fact that it has been the Papal authority that has caused many of those who disagreed with their doctrine to be persecuted and killed, that the Catholic Church is spoken of in the Book of Revelation 19:2 as, " the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand."

Revelation 17:1-6, "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."

Whether we agree with this symbolism in Revelation or not we must agree that the description certainly fits in great degree to what the Catholic Church has done and what it believes in.

The church headed by the Pope has been the source of great influence, power and wealth, and remains so today. It has been the birthplace of a multitude of false doctrines and there have been any number of false religions embraced as a part of its ceremonies. There have been a number of religions born by breaking away from the teachings of Catholicism, some to become just as false in their own doctrine and some that have evolved through adhering to the Word of God to become a part of the real Body of Christ.

The doctrine of purgatory, the existence of a place beyond the grave where we can have a second chance to make it into Heaven, is another erroneous doctrine that can be very dangerous as it allows people to live in sin and then hope to be delivered from that sin in purgatory.

Catholic definition of Purgatory:

The place or condition in which the souls of the just are purified after death and before they can enter heaven. The souls are purified by atoning for the temporal punishments due to sin by their willing acceptance of suffering imposed by God. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same for all, but proportioned to each person’s degree of sinfulness. Moreover, these sufferings can be lessened in duration and intensity through the prayers and good works of the faithful on earth. Nor are the pains incompatible with great peace and joy, since the poor souls deeply love God and are sure they will reach heaven. As members of the Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory can intercede for the persons on earth, who are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid. Purgatory will not continue after the general judgment, but its duration for any particular soul continues until it is free from all guilt and punishment. Immediately on purification the soul is assumed into heaven.

This doctrine stems from the scriptures that pertain to a place in the lower regions of the earth where those who died before the crucifixion of Jesus were held in a place of rest until Jesus came to set them free.

Luke 16:22, "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;"

Ephesians 4:8-9, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?"

The Catholic Church and others as well, like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) use a number of verses, wrongly interpreted to teach that purgatory is real. I will not go into these verses due to time and space but here is a list from one of their own websites.


Isaiah 4:4 "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning."

(Where is purgatory in this verse? This scripture contains nothing pertaining to the purification of a soul after life. In fact, the entire 4th chapter of Isaiah is God’s pronouncement of the judgment upon Israel that will come during the Babylonian Captivity, not with the afterlife of man.)

Malachi 3:2-3 "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he {is} like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (3) And he shall sit {as} a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."

(There is no purgatory here either. This entire passage in Malachi is speaking of the coming of both John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus and then the coming of Jesus to be the sacrifice for the sin of man.)

Matthew 12:32 "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the {world} to come."

(This scripture not only does not speak of a place called purgatory but it actually teaches just the opposite. This passage, read in context, is speaking of the sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost and forever denying his power. It is saying that whosoever does this will not only die in their sin but will never be forgiven and will suffer eternally for that blasphemy.)

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

(How anyone could ever interpret purgatory into these scriptures is beyond comprehension. There is only one foundation, Jesus Christ. If we don’t build our lives on that foundation then every work shall be revealed and burned away by the tormenting fires of hell that expose us for what we are. Only by living for Jesus will we see salvation. Nothing can be changed after death for there are no works after death.)

Revelation 21:27 "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither {whatsoever} worketh abomination, or {maketh} a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life."

(How much more plain can the Word of God be than this? If we do not obey God and walk according to his commandments, but live in sin according to the flesh, we will never enter Heaven’s gates. No one will have a second chance.)

If you interpret any of these verses to prove that there is such a place as purgatory, perhaps you need to look at 2 Timothy 2:15-16, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness."

By falsely interpreting scripture in an attempt to prop up a false doctrine we not only bring danger to those who will abide by that teaching but we make God’s Word a lie and we cause men to fall further from the truth. Scripture must be proven by scripture and no scriptures should be taken out of context just to prove or create a false doctrine.

There is no second chance after death. That choice is made while we walk the earth and is irrevocable and unchangeable after death. No amount of money paid to a priest or minister to pray a loved one out of purgatory will work for there is no purgatory.

There are many other examples of doctrines that are the result of man’s own wisdom that are damaging and deadly to the Body of Christ if they are adhered to without condition. For the sake of time and space we will stop here and continue in the next session with our discussion concerning the Body of Christ.

Let’s end this portion of this series with the call to study God’s Word and to prove every word we hear by God’s Word and not take the teaching of any man to be above or equal to the gospel less we bring more divisions into the Body of Christ.

Luke 11:17 says, "...Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. "

God will not allow divisions to be a part of his body. That’s why we, as members of that body, must be on constant guard to keep the teachings of the doctrines of the Bible pure and not allow error to stay in our churches.