Saturday, February 20, 2016

Membership: the Church as Body

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Luke 15:1-7, I Corinthians 12:21-31

In Psalm 139, David sings

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.


Paul corrects the Corinthians Church in this way

Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?  You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.   I Co. 6:19

Thinking about the organs of a human body and our passage about the church as body, the appendix is fascinating.   Despite centuries of research, the exact purpose of the appendix is still not certain.  It is sometimes said, perhaps as encourage a person who has had their appendix removed, ‘well, you don’t need that’.  What they really mean to say is “you can survive without it”.  But as Paul reminds us, it is against the rules to say, “we don’t need you”.

There are two examples of complaints that Paul uses in his teaching about the church as body.  The first complaint is “Because I am not”.  An imaginary hand might say “Because I am not an eye, I am not important”.   The second complaint is “I don’t need you” to another member of the body.  Appendix, you aren’t needed.  Begone.

“Because I am not…"
When a part of the body needlessly compares itself to another part in an inappropriate way, it rejects God’s part for them in the body.  How absurd that the stomach demand to see?  The body would die because it wasn’t doing the job it was called to do.

It isn’t inappropriate to see strength in another person and wish to emulate that.  But it isn’t appropriate to compare yourself to another part of Christ’s body when he has called you to your role.  Needlessly comparing yourself draws you away from God, while following God’s purpose for you brings health to the body.

“I don’t need you...”
The Scripture calls us to spur one another on to good deeds, to encourage one another as long as it called today.  Scripture also commands us to take sin and wrongdoing seriously enough to identify it and seek to leave it behind.  But the Scripture does not devalue humanity.  And it is wrong for us to say to another part of Christ’s body:  I don’t need you.

 Perhaps the biggest reason why is this phrase is an affront to God.  God has placed his body together.  So if someone judges a person as not needed, they make this declaration without all of God’s knowledge and will in view. 

Also, there is a finality to the phrase “I don’t need you”.  But the Scripture says that an eye saying to the head ‘I don’t need you’ doesn’t cease to make the head continue to be a head.


What is God showing us through the church as body image?
  1. He has put his Son Jesus Christ in Charge, and Jesus is the head of the body.
  2. God places emphasis on ‘senses’.  The body as a big eye would lose the majesty of the sense of smell.  A big nose would lose out on music.  The body losing their senses is a sick body, not complete, dysfunctional.
  3. God wants his body to awaken to all that God has created it to be.
  4. God has a specific intent for specific parts.  Scripture says that God has put each part exactly where it should be.  His will, not ours.
  5. God looks at the parts of the body uniquely and purposefully.  He has good plans for all the parts of the body.

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