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Summary: Examine the characteristics of a church that is functioning as a healthy body.

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Introduction- Last month I went for my annual physical. My doctor checked my pulse, my blood pressure, did blood tests, listened to my heart and lungs. He gave me a clean bill of health. I have an annual physical every year. All of us are concerned about our bodies and our healthy.

You might be like the following people, having a healthy body is not important to you. (tongue in cheek)

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it... don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!!... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO . Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

(Contributed to Sermon Central by Ed Vasicek)

Like I said, some people are not concerned with having a healthy body. That may be true physically; however, if you are a believer you should be concerned with a spiritually healthy body. What does that mean?

I. A healthy body has a healthy connection to the head. I am going to use head and brain interchangeably in my message. Notice verse 15. The ultimate goal of growth and spiritual maturity is that we may “grow up in all things into Him who is the head---Christ.”(vs. 15) Thus, we have a healthy connection with Jesus Christ. Sometimes that connection is not good, both spiritually and physically. This is what happens physically when a stroke occurs. I looked up the definition of a stroke on the internet. The definition says a “Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease. It affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.” (Taken from the American Stroke Association website) I will give you a layman’s definition. A stroke occurs when the brain has a poor connection with the body (especially the heart). It is vitally important that our brains (head) have a healthy connection to the rest of the body. When the head is properly connected to the body there will be two results.

A. The head will direct the body. The brain is the control center of the body. A healthy church should be concerned with following and obeying the words given by Jesus Christ. Sometimes we get focused on church traition, denominational suggestions or member preferences. Our first priority should be Jesus directions.

B. The body will depend on the head, Jesus Christ. Why is it so vital that we depend on Jesus Christ? There is a simple explanation found repeated in Ephesians 3 & 4 (Ephesians 3:2,7,8; 4:7). The phrase is God’s grace. You may ask, why is God’s grace so vitally important in establishing a good connection? Jesus Christ and His grace is our connecting link to God. Most all of us carry a cell phone in our purse or our pocket. We know the frustration of losing a phone connection when we are talking. Phone companies use this frustration as a marketing strategy. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Connection is important!

• Because of Jesus Christ and His grace we have access to God. (vs. 8)

Illustration: Several years ago I preached a revival near Rapid City, South Dakota. The place where I preached was the home of a SAK (strategic air command) base. They had several B-1 bombers housed there. At that time the B-1 bomber was the jet that transported nuclear bombs. One of the mechanics, that maintained the B-1, was a member of the church where I preached. One day he offered to carry me on a tour of the base and carry me on board a B-1. That was like asking a duck if he wants to get into the water. I never will forget that afternoon. I stood at the gate of this highly secure base waiting on that mechanic. He came riding up in a maintenance truck. He showed his security badge to the guard and I got in the truck. He carried me to a large hanger and I was able to go inside a B-1 bomber. That was awesome! Follow the story. I was granted access to a highly secure place where I would never be allowed to go because my friend had access. Since he had access I had access. I was able to visit a place very few people are allowed to go. Jesus Christ has done the same for us. He gives access to the throne room of God’s dwelling. Apart from Him there is no access to God. In II Tim. 2:5 you will find a verse that perfectly explains this truth. “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

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