Summary: Sermon 3 in a series of 4 sermons reflecting on Paul’s favorite description of the Church as the Body of Christ. In this sermon we examine how members participate in the sharing of nourishment and information in the body.
CHRISTIAN A & P 101: COMMUNICATION & NOURISHMENT
Ephesians 4: 1-7; 11- 16
1. Over the past two Sunday we have been examining Paul’s favorite description of the Church as the Body of Christ and my purpose has been to highlight at least 4 aspects of our human anatomy and physiology and make the application to our spiritual or Christian anatomy and physiology. I have singled out the 4 aspects of:
• THE UNITY OR ONENESS OF THE BODY
• THE SUPPORT THE MEMBERS GIVE ONE ANOTHER
• THE SHARING OF COMMUNICATION AND NOURISHMENT
• THE BODY CARRIES OUT THE WILL AND DIRECTIVES OF THE HEAD
2. Just by way of quick review, we have noted the Oneness of the Body and we reminded ourselves that:
• The church was never intended to be an exclusive club for noses or eyes or feet
• It was never intended to be a gathering of clones, exactly fashioned in our image
• But it is thankfully a remarkably diverse organism with many, many different parts and cells all working together for the mutual benefit of the one body
• We reminded ourselves that while we accept and are glad about that great diversity of body parts and functions in the natural – our physical bodies, when it comes to the spiritual application in the church, we are not always as ready and eager to be accommodating. We are not always as accepting of one another’s differences and so some real work needs to take place in that area.
• We have recognized that just as there is a process of a man and a woman becoming one in marriage – and learning through much understanding and patience and forgiveness and acceptance to become one, so there has to be a similar process within the church multiplied many times over by the number of members in that body – because we all bring into this relationship not only the good and admirable qualities each of us certainly possess, but also our quirks, our idiosyncrasies, and our sin – and so we do not just walk away from one another when there are differences – but by the grace of God we seek to work through them and resolve them.
• And we do that because the Unity and Oneness of His Church was so important to Jesus that He spent the entire night before His crucifixion praying for us that we might be One as He and the Father are one.
3. Then last Sunday, we spoke of the Support that the members have for one another and we reminded ourselves that our body parts were not just thrown together any old how – that they all have their own unique place and function and they are all very firmly connected to one another with joints, muscles, and ligaments.
• We don’t just lose a body part without noticing it. They don’t just come apart from one another because they are firmly connected and bonded to one another with joints, muscles, ligaments and connecting tissues
• And we suggested that the spiritual joints, ligaments, muscles and connecting tissues that hold us together in the Body of Christ are the covenant commitments and the vows we make with and to one another.
• Just as a couple getting married make their vows to one another and ratify them by giving and receiving of rings and signing a marriage certificate, so we pledge ourselves to Christ and one another in the ceremonies of baptism, confirmation, membership, holy communion, in the prayers we pray with one another, in the tears and laughter we share with one another, in our fun and in our work with one another.
• And because none of us has yet arrived at the state of perfection and we mess up and relationships sometimes get infected and inflamed – and if we are not careful, spiritual gout and arthritis and paralysis can completely immobilize a church body – we need to all remain watchful and vigilant and prayerful and do what is necessary to maintain good body health. And so repentance and forgiveness and kindness and humility and all the fruit of the Spirit are essential to the Body’s health and well-being.
• I ended by saying that just as in our physical bodies while all the various different parts are members of the same body, they are not all immediately attached to one another. You remember the song: “The toe bone is connected to the foot bone and the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone and the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone…” and so on. And the same is true with the other organs and parts. The spiritual application of that truth is that God has specifically fashioned your nature and personality and temperament to slot in well with certain others who need what you have to offer. And so, I imagine that over the years or however long you have been here - you have already identified certain other persons in this congregation with whom you more readily identify and relate than with others. You seem to have a natural affinity with some more than others. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It is not a case of being exclusive. It doesn’t mean you never connect with the rest, but there are those with whom you share at much more than a superficial level.