Summary: God has placed you to live out your purpose in this place for His pleasure.
The Bible lists 59 “One Another” statements, showing how God expects us to behave toward other believers. In fact, it’s impossible to live this out unless we are in community with Christians. In a culture filled with vitriol and anger, Christ-followers are to live and love like Jesus.
Today, we’re beginning a brand-new series called, “One Another.” Here’s where we’re headed for the next five weeks, leading up to Easter.
Care for One Another
Be United With One Another
Accept One Another
Carry Each Other’s Burdens
Bear With One Another
Interestingly, in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians, Paul makes over 30 references to the local church functioning like the human body. Just as our complex and intricate bodies need care and attention, so too, the church can only be healthy and experience growth when everything is in balance and properly exercised.
Church ministry is always multi-dimensional. We must strive to keep our four focus areas in equilibrium in order to remain healthy – we’re called to make disciples, who make disciples by gathering, growing, giving and going with the gospel, all for the glory of God.
In other words, our message must remain biblical, our mission must reflect balance, and our ministry must rely on the body.
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 together: 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
Here’s the main idea: God has placed you to live out your purpose in this place for His pleasure.
When you came in you were handed a puzzle piece to serve as a reminder you are a valuable part of God’s picture for this church. We’re in this together. Did you know every snapshot of the church in the New Testament is a group picture?
The Apostle Paul stayed in Corinth eighteen months working through the many problems that divided the church. It’s in this setting, he tells them it’s time to get into spiritual shape by doing some body building. His basic point is we’re all linked together as pieces of a puzzle. And as such, our linkage means we are bound to “do life together” and to care for one another. Take a look at your puzzle piece as we walk through these principles.
1. Each piece is distinct and yet united with the whole. Though we are one, we are also unique. We see this in verse 14: “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” The word “many” carries the idea of “abundance” or “much.” The New American Standard puts it like this: “For the body is not one part, but many.” The New Living Translation renders it this way: “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.”
Unity is good and diversity is good.
• If unity is emphasized at the expense of diversity, we have uniformity. That is not good.
• If diversity is emphasized at the expense of unity, we have anarchy. That is not good either.
• We need to celebrate unity without demanding uniformity. Unity and diversity. Diversity in unity.
On the first day of school a first grader went to her newly integrated school at the height of the segregation storm. When she came home, her mother anxiously asked how everything went. The little girl said, “Oh, mommy, do you know what happened? A little black girl sat next to me!” The mother, fearing her daughter was traumatized by this experience, asked her how she got through the day. The daughter smiled and responded, “We were both so scared that we held hands all day long.” Isn’t it wonderful how young children have the ability to see past how we are different and allow the ways we are the same to draw us together?