This is a guest post by Pastor Josh Irmler
Romans 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
There are many metaphors in the Scriptures used to describe the church. The Church is referred to as the Family of God, the Bride of Christ, and even a Flock. But today I want to focus on one metaphor the Bible uses that also happens to be one of my personal favorites – The Body.
I once heard the story of an elderly man was beginning to wonder if his wife had a hearing problem. Her body was getting frail and her health was beginning to deteriorate. So, one night, he stood behind her while she was sitting in her chair. He spoke softly to her, “Honey, can you hear me?” But there was no response. He moved a little closer and said again, “Honey, can you hear me?” Still, there was no response. Finally, he moved right behind her and said, “Honey, can you hear me?” – Irritably-she replied, “for the third time, YES!” Sometimes just like the physical body can begin to become unhealthy and deteriorate so the church as the body of Christ can become unhealthy as well.
Notice three parts of a healthy body:
The Head of the Body
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
The headship of Christ refers to the authority He has over His Church. Just as the brain sends instructions to the rest of the body. So Christ as the head of the church sends instructions to His body the local church! Someone once said; If you change the head you change the body! This is one reason why in our churches we don’t have denominational headquarters telling us what to do. We allow Christ to lead us through the authority of the Scriptures.
“The word authority has within it the word author and an author is someone who creates. Since God is the ultimate author and creator of all things He therefore has the intrinsic right to be the ultimate authority over all things.”
The Heart of the Body
I Corinthians 12:14-25 For the body is not one member, but many. 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?But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body?But now are they many members, yet but one body. 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. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 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. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
The heart of this body truly is a heart of unity. Fellowship is not just doing anything together. It is primarily doing God’s will together. Quite obviously, our fellowship with others is only as good as our fellowship with Christ, our unity. And we can only participate with Him in doing God’s will, for that is all He ever does! For this reason we must quit thinking of Christian fellowship as primarily doing things such as having pot luck dinners or watching football or playing basketball with other believers. These have their place but they are only fellowship to the extent that rest, exercise, and eating are doing the work of the Lord. Fellowship involves actively doing God’s will. The things we usually think of as fellowship are certainly not the primary meaning of the word!
The Hands of the Body
Romans 12:6-9 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
After World War II a group of engineering students from Germany had come to England to rebuild a cathedral that had been damaged by German bombs. As the work progressed, they became concerned about a large statue of Jesus, whose arms were outstretched and beneath was the inscription: “Come Unto Me” They had particular difficulty trying to restore the hands, which had been completely destroyed after much discussion, they decided to let the hands remain missing and changed the inscription to: “Christ’s has no hands but our hands”
The reality is our physical bodies can survive if one of our limbs gets severed and removed. But a limb left to itself will eventually wither and die. As a Christian you are part of the Body – The Church. The reality is your Church will survive without you – handicapped though it may be. But eventually you will whither and die if left disconnected. You were created to belong. You were created for fellowship. You were created for community. Stay connected!
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