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Date: 16 August, 2019
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:
Title: The Body of Christ
We are praying about God's will regarding the church building at George Crescent. God's blessed us with a great temporary rental location here at the Miner's Community Centre. But, when God gives us a permanent location it will be exciting.
However - we know that a church is not a building but the people.
- ill. The early church didn't have church buildings right away. They often met in houses.
Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
- ill. IN SCOTLAND
- The Covenanters met in secret locations - open air, at times at night, during rain storms.
- When the disruption occurred in Scotland (1843) the Free Church came out of the church of Scotland - the lost the Kirk and the Manse. Some met in the open air. Others met on boats.
WHERE we meet as a church is not as important to WHO meets together as a church.
The greek word translated "church" is Ecclesia - Called out assembly - used 114 times in the New Testament.
In our text today in I Corinthians 12. Paul doesn't refer to the church as the ecclesia. He refers to it instead as the "body of Christ." This is a very special group also referred to as the local New Testament church.
There are some great groups you can aspire to join in life.
ill. saw a fun news story this week - Lewis Ludlam - 23 - Just got put onto team England.
He tweeted a picture of him and his primary school teacher meeting together after his first game - "13 years ago I promised my primary school techer if I ever played for England I'd get her tickets to my first game to thank her for her support. Can't believe we actually managed to track her down."
ex. What a honor for Lewis Ludlam to be a part of team England.
app. You are HIGHLY honoured today if you have been made a member of the body of Christ. THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT GROUP ON THIS EARTH THAN THE LOCAL NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.
My message this morning is - Joining the Body of Christ.
You can be a part of the body of Christ. Do you want to be a part of the body?
I. Become a member of the body of Christ.
exp. If you are not yet a part of this incredible group - you need to join.
ill. Our church has not yet had a chartering service. I believe we need to do this in the near future. A chartering service allows us to commit ourselves to membership of this local church. We would visibly acknowledge what God has done spiritually. We are just now to the point where it seems reasonable for us to pursue that.
app. However, I'm not speaking this morning about putting your name on the memmbership list of our church - though that is important. I'm talking about being added to the local church by the Spirit of God. He does this whether or not you are ready to put your name on the dotted line with church membership.
HE DOES THIS THROUGH SALVATION.
Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
note: The church at Jerusalem began as God sent the Spirit of God from Heaven at Pentecost. Why? Because the Holy Ghost is the one who puts us into the body of Christ by the baptism of God's Spirit.
ill. John said about Jesus - Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
A. Believe on Jesus and be baptized into His body. v.13
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
exp. What is Paul speaking about? He is speaking about what Jesus did by His Spirit when you got saved as you drank spiritually THE WATER OF LIFE.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
ill. A Baptist church only allows saved people to become visible members - WHY? Because unbelievers are not a part of the body of Christ.
app. Are you saved today? Have you been born again? Do you have God's Spirit in you because you have received the water of life? You can not be a part of Christ's body until you get saved.
B. Believe on Jesus and receive spiritual gifts to be used in His body. vv. 7-11
exp. To those who are saved - when you got saved you became a member of the body of Christ.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
def. Manifestation - exhibition
note: When you got saved "every man" was gifted by God's Spirit.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
exp. Some of these gifts are no longer active as some offices are no longer active.
- Apostles - those who saw Christ and were appointed by Him.
- Tongues - 1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
exp. Beginning when you got saved - God's Spirit gave you "spiritual" gifts to be used in the body of Christ. (Later our text says, "Covet earnestly the best gifts...." signifying that God's Spirit may give additional gifts.)
ill. These gifts may not be incredibly evident until they are exercised under the enablement of God's Spirit. D. L. Moody - didn't seem to have great talents and wasn't even immediately allowed church membership following his conversion - but God supernaturally enabled him by His Spirit to become a great preacher.
app. What are your gifts today? Are you willing to take what God has given you and use it whole heartedly for the Lord? When you got saved - God began to equip you as a member of the body of Christ.
II. Become a worker in the body of Christ.
ill. When I was an assistant pastor in Michigan we had a young man get saved. He was in his 20's and had a love for the Lord. Earl had gotten saved reading the "Left Behind" series by Tim Lahaye. - He had moved up to our area just to attend the church. We had a church building project going as well as work on my house and Earl and I enjoyed some wonderful discipleship time.
- Earl didn't know anything about the Bible. He saw a children's cartoon about Jonah and the Whale and asked if that was a true story in the Bible.
- When Earl was ready to join the church he asked a great question. After I join the church, "WHAT DO I DO? Do I mow the lawn or what?"
app. What a great question! - Would to God more members of the body of Christ were as inquisitive about what they can do as a member of the body. (WE OUGHT TO BECOME A WORKER IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.)
A. The body needs many members. v. 14
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
exp. The body itself is one. However, it is made up of many members.
ill. Did you know that the human body....
1.) Has 78 organs.
2.) Has 12 systems - cardiovascular, digestive, muscular, nervous etc...
3.) At adulthood Ten trillion cells
4.) Has many members - head, hands, feet, toes, fingers, ears, eyes, nose, mouth....
note: Hands and feet are differents. Eyes and ears are different. Why? Because you have to use different pieces or you can't make a whole body.
app. There is great diversity in the body of Christ because it takes MANY MEMBERS to make one body. As we look at our church as Paul saw it - we are all different (many members) and important to the Body of Christ.
B. The body needs each member.
exp. Although we have many different members - EACH MEMBER IS VERY IMORTANT.
1. The greater the diversity the more complete the body. vv. 15-16
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 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?
note: A foot jealous of the hand or an ear jealous of the eye - quitting the body - handicaps the body.
ill. Helping David - honey cottages caravan park - put up an awning on his caravan - he needed help because his body was lacking members - David had diabetic neuropathy and had to have his foot amputated.
exp. David would tell you by experience that (although he's got a great attitude) It would be better to have every member doing it's part.
app. Our body - although one unit - has very important distinct members of that body which make it complete. WE NEED EACH MEMBER PRESENT DOING WHAT IT HAS BEEN GIFTED TO DO or the spiritual body is handicapped.
2. The body is not ONE member. v.17
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
ill. Imagine a human body that relied upon one member to do everything. If it was the nose it would need to walk, eat, handle, etc. IMPOSSIBLE - no matter how good the nose is - if the nose was everything to a body the body would soon perish.
app. Our church can not function upon the gifts of one person no matter how talented they are in their function within the body. If we cease to do our function - the body suffers and could perish.
C. The body is being built by the wisdom of God. v.18
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
ill. Benson has always been good with his hands. At two years old he took the ink cartridges out of our ink jet printer and emptied some of the content onto our new carpet. He took the keys off of my laptop and put them in the bin. Thankfully he turned those skills into better persuits - someone gave us a lego jumbo jet - Benson had a pile of legos - instructions and had an assembled jet if I remember correctly that evening. (If I had tried it would have been a mess.)
app. God is the one skilfully assembling the body of Christ by His infinite wisdom. Your part within this local body is by His design. Are you ready to obey the Master's hand as He gifts and puts you into His body?
D. The body is made by many members being united together.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
exp. Each individual member has a special place in the single body of Christ.
ill. Birth is exciting - a child is born - count their toes - check their hearing and sight - make sure the members are all present and working in that little body.
- then their development begins and that little infant body grows towards adulthood.
- They begin to laugh and interact.
- They take their first steps.
- They say their first words.
- They learn to read, count, play sports, learn an instrument, graduate, get married, raise a family....
exp. And each step along the way the members of their body are learning to work better and better together - making that single body better.
app. The body of Christ has many members - but as the members UNITE IN THE BODY in which God has placed them they grow together to a MATURE UNITED BODY.
transition: Become a member of the body of Christ - Become a worker in the body of Christ....
III. Become a supporter of the body of Christ.
exp. You need to be a part (member) fulfil your function (work) and also support the body of Christ.
A. Value each member of the body. vv.21-22
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.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
exp. We need to value each member within the body of Christ. We can't do without those whom God puts into the body of Christ at Free Baptist Church in Loanhead. Some members of the body "seem to be" more feeble - BUT THEY ARE EACH VITAL.
ill. Invalid - member of a church in London - “After the Chicago fire he went to London to rest and to learn from the Bible scholars there. He had no intention of preaching. One Sunday morning he was persuaded to preach in a church in London. Everything about the service dragged. He wished that he had never consented to preach. There was a woman in the city who had heard of Mr. Moody’s work in America and had been asking God to send him to London. This woman was an invalid. Her sister was present at the church that Sunday morning. When the hearer reached home she asked her sister to guess who had spoken for them that morning. She guessed one after another of those with whom her pastor was in the habit of exchanging, never guessing aright. Her sister said, ‘No, Mr. Moody from Chicago.’ The sick woman turned pale, and said, ‘This is an answer to my prayer. If I had known that he was to be at our church, I should have eaten nothing this morning, but waited on God in prayer. Leave me alone this afternoon: do not let anyone come to see me; do not send me any thing to eat.’ All that afternoon that woman gave herself to prayer. As Mr. Moody preached that night, he soon became conscious that there was a different atmosphere in the church. ‘The powers of an unseen world seemed to fall’ upon him and his hearers. As he drew to a close he felt impressed to give out an invitation. He asked for all who would accept Christ to rise. Four or five hundred people rose. He thought that they misunderstood him, and so he put the question several ways that there might be no mistake. But no, they had understood.”
app. Many in Heaven will be suprised to find out what member had the greatest impact in the body of Christ. Feeble members are vital members - we ought to value each one.
B. Honour the members that appear less honourable. v.23-24
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
ill. For show and tell in Primary school I enjoyed taking in an xray of my kidneys - I have 3.
exp. You may compliment someone on their hair but you aren't going to compliment them on their kidneys.
app. Like a human body - some parts of the church body are ones that "we think to be less honourable" - we rightly need to give more honour to these positions. Everyone knows what the preacher does but nobody stops to think about the behind the scene work being done by many OTHER MEMBERS.
C. Unite the body.
25 That there should be no schism in the body;
ill. A church where Katie and I had membership was very divided. It wasn't a secret. Sadly even the community was aware of the division. God brought us "feeble members" who were peacemakers well used of God to reunite that body.
Mat 12:25 And Jesus .... said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
exp. The unity of the body is protected by valuing and honouring each member.
app. We need to value each other and honour each other so that the body of Christ can stand undivided.
D. Care for the body. vv. 25b-26.
...but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
exp. God has made the human body in this way.
ill. When you suffer - you care for the suffering member.
1.) When the thumb is hit by the hammer the mouth comes to the rescue.
2.) When you get a cut a hand comes to stench the flow of blood.
3.) When you get a headache - the brain thinks to get some medication or rest.
ill. When it goes well - your whole body rejoices - At camp - we played softball and my left hand made a blind sided catch. My whole body rejoiced.
app. There are times where a member in this body will suffer and the other members ought to come to comfort and help them. At other times a member of our body will suceed and we ought to rejoice with them.
E. Love the body. vv.27-31
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
exp. We all have different gifts. Not everyone will have every gift. We ought to seek to excel in our giftedness - but what Paul ends with - is NO MATTER WHAT YOUR GIFT - the most important thing is love.
ill. Letter from church - disagreement over the light fixtures - so they just changed the bulbs - everyone seems happy. (We laugh - but church splits have happened over smaller things.)
app. Chapter 13 - identifies what Biblical loves is - Paul is going to spend a whole chapter on it. Support the body by love. We'll have a strong body if each member is walking in love towards one another.
Conclusion: We're excited to be praying about a building and will be even more excited when God makes that desire a reality. However, the most important thing is not a church building - but the body of Christ (and the members of that body.)
You can be a part of the body of Christ.
I. Become a member of the body of Christ.
A. By putting your faith in Jesus.
B. By receiving spiritual gifts after salvation.
II. Become a worker in the body of Christ.
A. It takes a lot of members to make a body.
B. Each member has important work to do.
C. God has put you in this body where pleased Him.
III. Become a supporter of the body of Christ.
A. Value each member.
B. Honour each member.
C. Unite with each member.
D. Care for each member.
E. Love each member.