Thursday, April 23, 2009

Members one of another.....

Romans 12:5---"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."

Are you bought with a price, washed in the Blood? Do you know that you matter? Do you realize that you are needed? Do you have a sense of belonging? Are you aware that you are an integral part of a LIVING BODY of believers? Are you fulfilling your calling in a local church body?

I think that most Christians do not understand the responsibilities and privileges of being part of the body of Christ.

As the above verse states, every ONE of us are members one of another. We BELONG to each other! We are part of a LIVING BODY----a living organism! The church is not a mere organization---it's a living, breathing organism. If believers would only get a hold of this truth, I think it would revolutionize local churches.

As we know, the body of Christ is made up of believers who have repented and trusted Him as Savior. Each believer plays a unique role in the body. Paul, burdened that the baby Christians in Corinth understand the importance of their place in the body, explained this to them in I Corinthians 12.

Verse 12---"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."

OK----so let's break this down: There is ONE body of believers. That body has many members. Many members, but ONE body. We, being many members, but one body, make up the body of Christ.

Paul reiterates this in verse 14---"For the body is not one member, but many."

Paul is trying to get the Corinthian folks to understand how the body functions. Is the body made up of one part (member), only? No, of course not. The body would not be able to function without the various members, just as our physical bodies cannot function as just a head or an eye or an ear.

But how do most churches function? Sad to say, most churches struggle, disabled and limited by non-functioning members. They are trying to get by one-handed, hopping on one foot much of the time.

Evidently, the church in Corinth was not functioning as it should either; everyone going their own way, and doing their own thing, rather than working together and functioning as a unit--as a body.

Paul asks them in verses 15-17---
"If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?"

It doesn't matter what we think---truth does not depend upon our opinions or ideas or how we feel---regardless whether we recognize what our function is, we still remain part of the body. G-d holds us accountable! We need to find out how we fit within the body, and then perform our function. If G-d has called us to be a foot, though we do not obey that calling.....we're still a foot---albeit a lame one!

Notice, that we do not decide which member we are----that's G-d's business! Verse 18 says, "But now hath G-d set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him."

Remember, we are here for His good pleasure and for His honor and glory. The L-rd knows how to gift us and use us best, and He wants to use each one of us----He sets "every one of them in the body" as it pleases Him to do so. So, it isn't we who decide whether we're an eye or a foot or a mouth----G-d chooses our function as a member. But, it is our responsibility to faithfully execute our function in the body!

And herein lay the problem in Corinth---and in many of our churches today:

Paul addressed the reluctant body parts. Let's look at verse 19---"And if they were all one member, where were the body?" Hmmm.....sounds like everyone was wanting to be the head or the eye or the mouth, but no one wanted to be the hand or the foot! Or, it could be that only one person was functioning as a member, and everyone else just warmed a pew! That's a pretty sad body, wouldn't you say?

Paul reiterates in verse 20, the truth that the church is made up of many members, but is one body. We all know that when Scripture says something repeatedly, we best take note and heed it!

Paul now proceeds to come at this lesson from a different angle: Verse 21---"And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you." Ah---no room for elitism here!

Have you ever tried to function within a church body where someone thought they were the whole body in and of themselves? They have to do everything, be everything, insert themselves everywhere? No one can do what they can do or as well as they can do it? No one else's help is wanted; other members are marginalized.

So, oftentimes a church either struggles with a lack of functioning body parts, or with a body part (s) trying to be something they are not! Either way, that church body is not pleasing to the L-rd!

G-d's intent is that the body should be healthy, with every member (body part) fulfilling its function, working together to glorify the L-rd. Verse 25 admonishes us, "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another." In other words, there should be no conflict in the functioning of the body. There is no room for pride or contention, for laziness or slacking, for selfishness or lack of love.

I Corinthians 12:26 sums it up well: "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." It doesn't matter whether we are the mouth or the hand or the eye or the ear-----we are part of the whole body. If the head is hurting, the hands, feet, eyes, ears---all will hurt with it, and should compensate and work together to help the head. If one member is blessed, then the other members should recognize that blessing and be blessed for that member as well.

Friends, the church is not an inanimate organization that is established for our use, at our convenience, and for our own purposes.

WE----as a body fitly joined together---ARE the church!!!

We need to "discern the body".

Christ died and shed His precious Blood for the church! He instituted the church as the organism through which He works. The gifts which He bestows on each one of us are to be used within the body of Christ for His glory, not be to selfishly used for our own enjoyment and edification.

Edification---a good Bible word! We are commanded to edify one another. How can we possibly do that, if we are not fulfilling the function G-d has assigned to us within the body? We cause the body to be anemic and disabled if we are awol or derelict in our duties as members of the body!

It's been said that there is no perfect church, and if one should find it, not to ruin it by joining it! But, we can reach for what G-d desires, as Ephesian 4:16 describes: "From Whom [Christ] the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." This is the ideal for the body of Christ and every church!

Do you think your church is lacking in some way? Is your church healthy and growing? Are you doing your part to function as the member G-d has called you to be?

Let us remember and heed what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write---"....for we are members one of another."

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