Summary: The first sermon in this series looks at what it means to be a body.
A Healthy Body
So, how do you feel about your body? Strange question isn’t it? Most of us would rather not think about our bodies and if we do we probably don’t think very complementary things. It’s too fat or too skinny, too short or too tall. Bumpy, lumpy or just plain ugly kind of like the guy who was so ugly when he was a kid that his parents took him everywhere they went so they wouldn’t have to kiss him good bye. At least that’s the way we think about it.
But is that fair? Over the next six weeks I want to focus on our bodies. And you might have assumed that knowing the title of this series is “Health Check” and our focus is 3 John 1:2 Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is.
There are times that we try to separate our bodies and our souls but in John’s letter he ties them together, they are both part of the package. It was the heresy of the Gnostics that said the body was evil and simply an imperfect prison for our souls.
Instead we need to view our bodies as a gift from God, that’s why Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.
What a statement. You, you are the Body of Christ.
Pretty awesome isn’t it? Look around you; each one of you makes up a part of the body of Christ. As Paul reached out to find a simile to adequately describe the church of Jesus Christ the one he came back to time and time again was the comparison between the church and a body.
In Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians Paul makes over 30 references to the body of Christ. Those of us who are familiar with the Bible tend to skip over things like that without really taking the time to think about it. We all know what a body is, after all each one of us occupies one every day, but do we really take the time to look at these vessels that we reside in and see where the similarities are between this which is flesh and blood and the church of Christ?
The first thing we need to recognize is that the analogy of the body applies to two definitions of the church. Yes it does refer to the church universal. That is the great all encompassing group of Christians throughout the world who call themselves by so many different names. So Cornerstone Wesleyan Church is part of the same body as the Rock Church, Temple Baptist, Emmanuel Bapist, Hills Christian Life Centre in Sydney Australia and Makena Wesleyan Church in Sierra Leone.
However, the local church, Cornerstone Wesleyan Church also needs to be viewed as the body of Christ. But why? Why did the Apostle Paul chose to use something as imperfect as our material body to illustrate something as mystical as the church of Jesus Christ?
William Barclay sates “There is an “I” a personality which gives unity to the many and varying parts of the body” This is a hand and this is a hand and that’s a foot and there’s another foot and here’s a head and they’re all separate, but “I” Denn brings unity to make all of those things part of my body.
Barclay goes on to say that what “I” is to the body, what Christ is to the church, it is in Him that all the diverse parts find their unity. Alone you are just a Mike, a Heather, an Angela, a Jim , a Matthew. But add Jesus Christ and you become a body. Christ is no longer in the world, he no longer has a physical body and so if he wants a child taught in Junior Church then he needs someone to teach. If He wants someone touched in compassion then He needs to use our compassion and if he needs to cry then He needs our tears.
And so we are His body, but the question remains what is his body? 1 Corinthians 12:12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ.
1) We have something in common. Each part of your body has something in common and that something is you! Your leg doesn’t belong to one person and your arm to somebody else. This is Mike’s arm and Jason’s leg.
Instead each individual part of the body has “you” in common, you are the common denominator that ties everything together. In the same way the church of the body of Christ has a common focal point and that is Jesus Christ. Recognize that the church doesn’t belong to everyone here. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour then you are not a part of the body of Jesus Christ. The very word “Church” in the original Greek was “Ek-Klay-See-Ah” which means “Called out ones”. From that point of view we realize that just because you attend a church doesn’t make you a part of the Church. Just because you go watch a hockey game doesn’t make you a hockey player. Just because you go into a garage doesn’t make you a car, go into a big garage become a big car, go into a little garage become a little car. If a cat had kittens in the oven they wouldn’t be cookies. Would they?