Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(Pt.10) You Are Part Of The Body Of Christ! ~ Who We Are "In Christ"

Who We Are "In Christ"
 You Are Part Of The Body Of Christ!  
 Questions Answered (Chapter 10)

Are we seeking our personal fulfillment in 
the "groups" we associate with? Where do 
"you" think your identity is?
 
One thing I think I've recognized in every human being I've ever met, is a desire in their heart to be a part of something, the desire to "fit" into some group. That sense of belonging drives people to do such things as join country clubs, civic clubs, college fraternities, sororities, gangs, the social elite... and even... churches. As part of our inheritance and true identity in Christ, God meets our need to belong... I think maybe it is this very need we search for all our lives in these other things, but in denying God, we deny the one group our soul longs for.

Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we have been placed into the body of Christ! The body of Christ is NOT an organization, but rather a "living organism" of sorts, made up of people literally all around the world and throughout history, who have named the name of Jesus Christ. Folks? My brothers and sisters? We WILL be a part of that family, the body of Christ, throughout eternity! Isn't that the most wonderful news a person could possibly get? Amen! Let's meditate on this a bit:

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27

Ladies and gentlemen, in all things we either believe the Word of God, or we don't. In this case, if you do believe, then you've got to understand that you ARE a part of the body of Christ! I know in some ways this seems so fundamental that it's barely worth mention, but in all reality? For those of us that have understood the impact of this one statement, it has changed our lives forever! Do you really understand that you are now "part" of the "body of CHRIST"? My Lord! How absolutely incredible!

With this Truth as part of our reality of who we are in Christ, let me ask an interesting question. What can we now conclude about our relationship with "one another" as born again Christians and fellow members of the body of Christ? Well I'll say this much. The black man better get comfortable with worshiping with the white man. The white man better get comfortable with worshiping with the black man. And both of them better get comfortable with the red, yellow and green men and visa-versa, Amen??!! Would it be right or normal for one hand to hate the other or be prejudiced in any way toward the other hand of the same body? One mouth holding something against the tongue? One foot harboring hateful feelings toward the other hand? Folks? When we have any kind of problem with ANY other born again Christian, whether they are Democrat, Republican or regardless of gender or nationality, WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CHRIST! It is HIS BODY we have the problems with. Correct? "Amen" or "Oh me!"?

There will be no prejudice in Heaven. 
Does it live in your heart? Muster your 
guts and take a REAL look at how you feel!
 
Now let me mention very quickly that the cause of these problems are generally the result of either one person being interpreted wrongly by another because of error in our own understanding, or? The other person wrongly interprets who or what you are because of error in their understanding of Truth. Most times I would say, both are occurring simultaneously. So? What is the common denominator in either case? Error in understanding.

"The body is one unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all it's parts are many. they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized with one spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one spirit to drink!" - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Here, Paul clearly describes the body as a unit. He points out that our physical body has many parts and even though our body has many parts, they come together to form "one body". Paul also clearly compares our physical bodies to the body of Christ (the church). So how did you and I become a part of the body of Christ? By our own faith (given by the Holy Spirit) and God's Grace (Jesus Christ). So? Regardless of our nationality, our ancestry, our gender... We are ALL "unified" by "the Holy Spirit".

Each of us comes to Christ on an individual basis. Regardless of background, every person who places his/her faith in Jesus Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Romans 8:9 says that if anyone does not have the Holy Spirit of God, he does not belong to Christ. You cannot be a born again Christian apart from God's Spirit living in you.

Once the Holy Spirit of God comes to live inside a person, the Holy Spirit places that person into the body of Christ. We come to Christ on an individual basis, but then we are joined to the body of Christ. As a result, we can say we "belong" to Christ, <span>AND</span> we "belong to one another"! Friends? I can tell you, there is probably no greater a gift from God in enduring this life on earth than this gift of each of us, to one another, in the unity of the Holy Spirit of God.

"Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf..." 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Here we go. In "The Lord's Supper", what does the cup of thanksgiving represent? It represents our "participation in the 'blood' of Christ". The bread? It represents our participation in the "body" of Christ. Because we have all partaken of the "one loaf", whether we understand this right now or not, we have literally become "one body", which is the spiritual body of Christ. So how does participating in The Lord's Supper show us the Truth that we belong to Christ, and we belong to one another? It is to demonstrate to us, and remind us, of how closely we are all joined to Christ and to one another... We are all inseparable from one other, and from Christ.

"And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy..." - Colossians 1:18

This is easy enough to understand. Jesus is the head of the body. Jesus has the supremacy in everything concerning the body and Jesus directs all the parts of the body... Amen?

"For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness." - Romans 12:4-8

As in the book of Corinthians, here Paul also compares the body of Christ to our physical bodies. As we can plainly discern, the different parts of the body does not all have the same function. Our relationships with one another is that we all belong to one another. We all form one body, but we all have different functions and/or gifts. What are some of the "gifts" Paul mentions above? Prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving/contributing, leading in diligence and mercy... That's a fairly wide array of gifts! To have any one or all of these gifts is a treasure! They only come from God! To be around anyone that has one or more of these gifts is equal treasure, for all gifts from God benefits the whole body! What an honor and privilege from the Lord... Amen.

Does not the one who serves benefit from the teacher? Does not the teacher benefit from the one who serves? Does not the one who gives benefit from the one who encourages? Does not the one who encourages not benefit from the one who gives? Just keep on mixing it up in these combinations. Everyone literally benefits from everyone else equally in the body of Christ.

In the body, there are no "big I's" or "little you's". All are equal. Why is it the one who sits in the congregation elevates the preacher above the sheep? Does not the preacher have a Master and Shepherd? Why does the preacher look down his nose at God's children? Would he not be totally lost if Jesus were to ignore him? Why is the prophet revered among the elite? Would he have anything to say without God to listen to? Why do the flock war against the leader? Do they benefit from their arrogance, rebellion and lack of mercy? Visa-versa- yada-yada-yada! Folks? Forget it! We are of one body! Whether we realize it or not, we are ALL called to be "unified"... We ARE all unified! Not by our own understanding, but we are unified by the Spirit! The Spirit of God has sealed us unto the body of Christ! It's not our decision! It has already been done by the Spirit!

I have wondered and wondered - meditated and meditated - prayed and prayed to God - knocked and knocked - trying to understand how God's people could become unified as one body. With this one teach this and that one teaching that, how in the world could man ever be unified? As God led me through the scriptures previously mentioned, He showed me that our unification to one another is much like our salvation... Once we come to Christ in repentance, faith and love for Jesus, HE saves us... AND the Spirit of God "seals" us... unto eternal life? AND unification! As you've heard me say before, Truth, whether we realize it or not, know it or not, agree on it or not, never changes. And the Truth here is? We, as truly born again believers in Christ, ARE UNIFIED in the body of Christ! Unification has already been achieved by none other than Christ, Himself. The enEmy just doesn't want us to know it and has done one fine job in preventing our minds (flesh) from realizing what has been done in the Spirit, which of course, prevents us from applying it to our lives... Which in turn paves the way for what? Discord within the body.


We have already been UNIFIED in Christ, 
by nothing other than CHRIST, HIMSELF!


Wow. Let's just take a few minutes/days/weeks/years to stop and ponder on all that. Shall we? Amen. Friends? I don't know about you, but all this is revolutionary to me. It is turning me inside out and changing me just as radically in my understanding.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." - Colossians 3:15

Folks? What I've just pointed out, most importantly, I think it is biblical. Look upon it, ponder it, and see what you think. Also, how else could we ever think it possible to achieve the "peace" among the body if it is not done by the Holy Spirit? Do we have it within ourselves to achieve unity? You know the answer to that one as well as I do. Of course not. But if we believe the Word of God, placing our faith in what God has already done, wouldn't it be alot easier to now ponder, meditate, pray, seek, knock, and acquire from God what we need in our hearts and minds to apply what has already been done in the Spirit to our lives? I think so. That is EXACTLY what we need to do... We need to quit focusing on who agrees with us on every jot and every little tittle, and start learning how to apply this unification of the body among us as believers... Wow. You want to "grow" in the ways of God? Here's a door to knock on! Amen!

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body..." - Ephesians 4:25

There's the first thing you will find behind that door if you knock. We need to quit pretending and get real... God already knows all Truth... It's high time we all started admitting it to ourselves... Amen.

"From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does it's work..." - Ephesians 4:16

Does this say the body "grows and builds itself up in agreement with one another?" Nope... It says we grow and build up the body by "love"... and doing our part in "love" for one another grows and builds us ALL as the one body! You don't have to agree on everything with someone to love them do you? Of course not! So let's never lose sight of the "love". My God! The Key is in our hands and we can't even find the door! Amen? - Amen!

Dear friends? In the past 2000+ years, we have been penetrated and adversely affected in our understanding by a great many things. So many things in fact, there is not room on any parchment to list them all. But the Way is always straight, and It is always narrow. Stray from it in the least and we'll find ourselves lost in a sea of despair. That is saTan's goal by the way... to keep us from realizing the Truth so as to prevent us from applying It to our lives.

I have been blessed to realize that the way of life explained above is most importantly Biblical, but also? It is absolutely beautiful when applied in life. Small bands of people join together in life. When one has a problem? A sickness? The rest gather together in prayer... When one finally sleeps in comfort after many days of unrest? They gather silently around the bed and pray that the restful sleep continues. When they disagree among themselves? They come together until such time as all is resolved and they are one in body, mind, Spirit and in Truth again... These small bands of people live together... cling to one another... teach, learn, listen and talk to one another... They love and worship God together... They let themselves into anothers house while they are sleeping just to check on them as they sleep away the fatigue of seeking God until they were born again. They pray for their lost loved ones... that they be saved... and brought out of the mosques and into the Light... They pray their families and friends "Home" to Jesus.

It is a unique thing in this day and age. Never-the-less, it should be more that way for us all... It is available to us all. It is already ours. Like everything else we learn of God, we need simply to take hold of it in faith, meditate and seek from God the Wisdom to apply it to our lives...

It is a beautiful thing to be "one body" in the body of Christ. My friend if you are born again, a beautiful life lay before you in just this one aspect of the Christian life. I pray you realize the benefit it will be you, and thus, the benefit you will be to others... both will be priceless and among your greatest treasures...

Next Up? "You Are A Citizen Of Heaven!"  
It just keeps getting better and better doesn't it? Amen & Amen!

2 comments:

FresnoJoe said...

Amen!

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Praise His Holy Name

Matt Thompson said...

PLEASE take notice anew of all this, my Brothers. The words in this writ have not changed... but they hold NEW purpose for you.

I love you All...
Matt