Summary: The Church is never a building. It is not a denomination. It is the Body of Christ. It is called to be a unified body with Christ alone as Head.
Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible. Please feel free to use this message as God’s Holy Spirit directs your heart.
A UNIFIED BODY
I Corinthians 12;12-27
Introduction: It is important to understand that the church is not a building. “Church” in the Bible never means “building.” Jesus and the New Testament use the word ekklesia to describe the followers of Jesus. The original word means "those who are called out assembled". It refers to groups of committed Believers in any given locality assembled to carry out the Great Commission throughout the world". Members of this Church come into a building where we meet, but the Church is never the building. It is not a denomination. It is the Body of Christ. It is called to be a unified body with Christ alone as Head.
I. The Church is Christ’s Body.
A. 1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
B. 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
C. Note the Church belongs to Christ. It is His body. The church does not belong to a denomination. The church does not belong to the “Clergy”. And despite popular opinion, the church does not belong to the people. It is not my church. It is not your church. It is not Grandma’s church. Whose church is it? It is Christ’s church!
D. Mark 9:41 “...you belong to Christ...”
E. Since the Church is Christ’s He is to have all preeminence.
F. Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
G. Programs, Plans, Personalities, must all take a back seat to Jesus Christ.
H. In order to effectively minister, the church must establish priorities for their work. We must first be committed to Christ, then to one another in Christ and finally to the work of Christ in the world. But first above all else is the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. The Church is made up of many different parts
A. 1 Corinthians 12:14 – 20 For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
B. Ruskin, a most accurate observer, said, "Break off an elm bough three feet long, in full leaf, and lay it on the table before you, and try to draw it, leaf for leaf. It is ten to one if in the whole bough you find one leaf exactly like another. Perhaps you will not even have one complete. Every leaf will be oblique, or foreshortened, or curled, or crossed by another, or have something the matter with it. And though the whole bough will look graceful and symmetrical, you will scarcely be able to tell how or why it does, since there is not one line of it like another." If such an infinite variety prevails in creation, we may reasonably expect to find the same in the experience of the saints. Uniformity is no rule of spiritual life. We must not judge others because their feelings have not been precisely similar to ours. All the saints are led in a right way, but no two of them precisely in the same way. Far be it from us to set up a standard and expect all to be conformed to it. If we reject all believers who labor under infirmities, or are marred with faults, our fellowship will be quite limited. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)
C. God strategically placed diversity within the one Body with many members.
D. Ephesians 4:16 “... the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (NLT - “Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”)