THE BODY OF CHRIST IN CORPORATE WORSHIP: Keeping the unity of Spirit. (20 DEC 2016)
Often when a coach wants to improve a team, the team returns to practicing the fundamentals. This message takes us back to the fundamentals of the Body of Christ, the true overcoming Body which defeats the World. People have numerous times asked me what can defeat the World. This is it…but it is rare when it is taught & practiced. Clearly we need a return to the fundamentals to improve “our game”. The Word of God enjoins us, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”(A) If each person lines himself up w/ the Spirit, then everyone is going the same way, and there is Spirit-created unity & a Spirit-led bond of peace. Note the words, “Make every effort…” There seems to be a mistaken idea that we can’t all find the Spirit so that kind of unity is unrealistic. Just the reverse… it is the only real unity, and it is obtainable: “…When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord…”(B) This message is a short scriptural reminder on life in the Spirit, & what the Body of Christ is, and how it functions. Our “faith… rests…in the power of God”. I COR 2:4
THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST ARE A BODY–THAT FUNCTIONS LIKE A BODY (C)…It is not a denomination or a man-made ecumenical organization. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Each member belongs to all the others.(D) Think of how different cells, and parts of the body grow & mature. Likewise, the body parts of the Body of Christ are in a constant state of growth & replacement. We become spiritually mature through love, the agape love described in 1 COR 13. Concern, sensitivity, patience, empathy, humility, & freedom are all expressions of love. A constant theme of the apostles was to remind Christians to love each other with brotherly love.(E) Peter admonishes the Christians to “be ye all of one mind”.(F) There are only two ways to “be of one mind”…one is carnal where a dictator type force imposes an approved thought pattern, the other is for all to have the mind of Christ by pressing in to the Spirit.
IN-FIGHTING FORBIDDEN. “Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”(G) “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will keep meddling.”(H) And a final clear verse: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”(I)
WOUNDS. If a man ignores a wound to his body, he risks gangrene & then death or amputation. If we ignore the wounds given to the Body, we are like the man ignoring a bad infection. It is quite common for wolves in church congregations to attack & mutilate members, and unfortunately, members often sit back & passively allow it to happen…as if wolves deserve “freedom of speech” to destroy good godly people. Additionally, do we look for the “lost sheep” that have wandered away? “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”(J)
PROPHECY. There is a prophecy about harmony among the leaders: “The watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye…”(K) In fact this is what Yahshua prayed for: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (L) Not only should we accept others who may be at a different spiritual maturity or gifting than ourselves, but we should “serve one another in love”.(M) Let me remind us that we should “bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”(N) Bear in mind, that Christ’s disciples were “made clean”, pardoned & given peace in their hearts long before they had much grasp of doctrines, incl. the doctrine of atonement for sin thru Christ. One who is young in faith can have an honest heart & a sincere passion for serving Christ & fellowman, without having all the theology. God has lots of generosity. None of us would be here if God had not been merciful & transformed us before all our notions were right.
So brothers & sisters, as the Word teaches, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” I appreciate the time & patience you’ve put forth to reread these fundamentals in this message. It’s all written right there in Scripture, but it never ceases to amaze me that modern churches stare at me like I’m crazy to suggest these things. Team Body of Christ needs to work on the fundamentals.
(A) EPH 4:3 (B) JER 29:13-14 (C) 1 COR 12 (D) ROM 12:5 cf. 1 COR 10:17 (E) 1 THES 4:9-10; HEB 13:1-3; 1 PTR 1:22-23, 1 PTR 3:8-9 (F) 1 PTR 3:8, this is also at ROM 15:5 (G) PRV 3:30 (H) PRV 20:3 (I) PHIL 2:3 (J) 1 COR 1:10 cf. 2 COR 13:11 (K) ISA 52:8 (L) ROM 15:7 (M) GAL 5:15 (N) ROM 15:1
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