Summary: The fact that every believer is part of the body of Christ should serve to bring us together in unity.
In our main passage for this series, Ephesians 4:3-6, Paul speaks about seven “cords” that bind us together - we share a common community - “one body”; a common communion - “one Spirit”; a common confidence - “one hope”; a common commitment - “one Lord”; a common confession - “one faith”; a common conversion - “one baptism”; and a common connection - “one Father.”
Today, I want us to think together about how we are part of one body, the body of Christ, and how that should bring us together in unity.
The Spanish philosopher, Unamuno, told about the Roman aqueduct at Segovia, Spain. It was built in 109 A.D. For 1800 years, it carried cool water from the mountains to the hot and thirsty city. Nearly sixty generations drank from its flow. Then came a new generation, who said, “This aqueduct is so great a marvel that it ought to be preserved for our children, as a museum piece.” So they decided to retire the aqueduct from service.
They hired contractors to lay iron pipes. They gave the ancient bricks and mortar a rest. As a result, the aqueduct began to fall apart. The sun beating on the dry mortar caused it to crumble. The bricks and stone sagged and threatened to fall. What ages of
service could not destroy - idleness disintegrated.
This is a great illustration of the negative result that comes to the life of a church if we fail to recognize that one of the cords that bind us
together is the fact that we are all part of one body - the body of Christ.
The church is to be Christ at work in the world today, and we, as followers of Christ, are part of His body. We each have a role, a place, where we are called to contribute to help the local body of Christ we are part of be effective. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul discusses the idea of the body of Christ in great detail. Let’s look to verses 14-25 and notice what he has to say.
1. We are each needed in the body – vs. 14-20
Paul makes this point by supposing that a foot might claim to not be important, since they are not hand; or an ear claiming that they are not important because they are not an eye. He says that a body that were one giant hand or eye would be monstrous!
(Show pictures of Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. & hamburger helper guy)
Paul’s point is that no matter whether you see yourself as a foot, or even a little toe, you are important and needed in the body of Christ. Besides, if the entire body were a hand, how would things get done?
(Show “And I Have No Feet” Midas commercial)
Every part of the body is needed to carry out God’s work. Here’s an important truth: Each of God’s children is so significant that the body of Christ cannot function as it ought without them. Therefore, to not participate as an active part of a local body of believers means that I am denying my God-given significance. For you to conclude that there’s nothing of importance for you to contribute to the work of the church is to minimize the value that God says you have.
“We are all different, but we are necessary parts of the whole.” - Thom Rainer
The fact is that each of us is needed in the body of Christ. That God has saved us to serve somewhere in His body. There is, therefore, a place for me to contribute. Since this is the case, every Child of God needs to discover where their membership is in the local church, because God designed you to be a member of the body of Christ.
Now, at this point I think it would do us well to understand better the biblical concept of membership.
In his book, “I Am A Church Member,” Thom Rainer points out that too many today have an idea of church membership that comes more from a “country club” point of view than a biblical point of view.
He describes a country club understanding of membership as one where membership means perks and privileges; and others serving me. Just pay the going rate, and you can have others taking care of you while you enjoy a life of leisure. Tragically, this understanding of membership is what many church members hold. For them, membership is about receiving instead of giving, being served instead of serving; rights instead of responsibilities; entitlements instead of sacrifices. Tithes and offerings are seen as membership dues that entitle members to a never-ending list of privileges and expectations, instead of an unconditional cheerful gift to God.
Unfortunately, church members have miscommunicated the meaning of membership to non-church members, as a result.