Band of Believers
Our youth group left Father’s Day to go to Minnetonka Christian Camp (http://www.minnetonkacamp.com/) and this year’s theme was a take off of the mini-series Band of Brothers. I had a different sermon planned for the evening service but after seeing the T-Shirts I knew I had a different one to preach.
I did not see the mini-series, but being an old soldier I understood the concept pretty quickly. In the military, you learn to bond with people that you might have never spoke to or liked in the civilian world. There will come a day that you will be in a combat situation and your life depends on the lads you are with as much as your own tactical skills and equipment. You develop a brotherhood.
In spiritual warfare, it is pretty much the same. As it is with the military we all have our specific jobs but we all need each other. As much as the branches of military may hate to admit it each is needed to win a war. No one branch has ever won a war single handedly. Each believer is in the Body or Band and we have our jobs or mission if you please and if one part of the Body is wounded the rest are to respond to it.
Band Of Believers
1 Cor 12:13-31
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.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
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?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
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:
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:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; 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.
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. (KJV)
So often we spend all our attention on the comely parts of our Body or the “stars” of our band. Only when the uncomely parts become ill or bothersome to us do we take note of them. We often neglect our toes unless our nails become ingrown or develop a fungus then we spend a lot of time trying to relieve the pain and cure the disease. If we had done proper preventative maintenance all along we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place. Until we realize that we are a Band/Body and understand the how complexly tied we are to each other we will not fulfill our role or complete our mission.
We Depend On Each Other
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (KJV)
The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is summarized in verse 16. Too often we live disjointed church lives. We are just a bunch of individuals that show up for a couple of hours a week (four at most) to hear some teaching and sing a few songs and then we run back to our lives trusting that everything will be as it should be when we return. We either entrust that to a few people we know or just trust it will happen not even caring how it happens or who does it.
The most interaction we have is at fellowships, but even there we sit with the same people we always do and chat about the same tings we always do and then run out the door. We may only know a handful of people who attend our church and most of them we only know by name or face. We greet each other, sit in our seats and run out the door at the last amen like a bunch of cockroaches startled by the kitchen light at 3:00 AM.
We don’t know each other’s gifts or role in the church. Shoot, we may not even know our own gifts or even if we are to have any. We thought attendance was all we were to do or worse yet feel it is required like a mandatory duty rather than the delight it is supposed to be.
When is the last time you invited a family you don’t really know home for lunch or out to lunch? Been a long time for most of us and yet that was once a normal thing in the churches. We get to know each other as we break bread together. I know. I know. Our lives are just too stinking busy, but we need each other.
We aren’t just to edify ourselves. We are in the Body or Band to edify the other members of the Band. We are supposed to come to the unity of faith and knowledge. We are to do the work of the ministry. Pastors and teachers and such are to instigate the motivation and provide teaching and resources but it is the Band that does the mission or work.
The Band is fitly joined together. Think of well-crafted furniture that is ornate and has flares but is built in pieces. For the furniture to be beautiful the parts have to fit perfectly almost seamless. The dovetails and other notches are so well done that there is almost no gap between them. Every joint has to be compacted or knit together for the furniture to stand the test of time and to retain its beauty and value. They become strong and beautiful because they fit so well. The proper contribution of all the pieces is what makes the whole piece a classic. Sloppy work is ugly and falls apart. Too many church Bands are sloppy. Not every joint is supplying what it has to give or it is given haphazardly and instead of a classic you have a wobbly piece of junk ready to fall apart at any minute.
We need each other. God supplies what every church needs to grow so if the church is not growing all the parts are not working or working halfheartedly. If God put you in a church then you have a role and something to contribute to that church. You are not a leftover piece.
You might say, “Brother Ron, I am a broken piece and have no worth.” Broken? Maybe you are a milled piece that God needs in a special place and he will use another Brother to sand you down and stain you. Indeed you may be the central ornament in what God is building at your church. Don’t put yourself in a drawer or trash pile. You may well be the piece that is needed before the Church can grow further.
We need each other. We must depend on each other and be dependable. It is how God meant for us to be banded together for growth. Growth means strength and strength means the ability to accomplish the mission He has for our Church and each of us.
The World Depends On Us
Some of you are old enough to remember Johnny Horton’s song, “We’ve Got To Sink the Bismarck”. Why? “Because the world depends on us.” The ships sent to sink the Bismarck were really no matches for it and several went down but ultimately the Bismarck was destroyed.
The world depends on us and they don’t even know it but they depend on us to prevent the destruction of their ship. Satan is out to destroy everyone on the planet. He wants them to have a terrible battle scarred life and they he wants to watch them sink into Hell like the Bismarck went down to the bottom of the sea.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)
We are the salt and also the light of the world. Yet, if we do not participate as the Band of Believers that God has called us to be then our salt has lost its savour and the world is trouble and so are we. We aren’t even fit for a dunghill and that is hard to comprehend. The land needs us. We must be a Band of Believers fitly joined together using our spiritual gifts to help the world that is dependent upon us fulfilling our mission.
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. (KJV)
We are clearly told that there is no other hope for the world except Jesus Christ and His salvation. Sin and the law have mortally wounded them. If they were a ship they would be listing heavily and on their way down to the depths without hope. Many have rejected the chief corner stone in their ignorance and by the time they realize it they may be in Hell without recourse. It is our job as a Band of Believers to make them aware of their error and need. Only as we work as He has gifted and called us will they listen to us. They need to take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus not that we have been to church or seminary. It is being with Jesus that they will notice for they will see His Light reflected in us and will seek the source of that light. This is our mission and the world depends on us.
1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (KJV)
It is well past time that we live up to our call to spiritual warfare and be about our mission. The harvest is ripe and we are in the last so we need to harvest and search diligently to make the cleanest gleaning of the field before we are called to HQs to prepare for the return of Christ. Are you AWOL? Can your squad or battalion depend on you? Is the Body stronger or weaker because of you? We are a Band of Believers. We depend on each other. The World depends on us. The Lord has commissioned and equipped us. He has led the charge. We must follow His lead or souls will be lost. Maranatha!!!