Summary: Sermon eleven in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
One of the problems many evangelical churches face today is that they have so emphasized the doctrine of the priesthood of believers they have lost their sense of corporate identity. Too many Christians think they stand alone before God and that they are not accountable to the church. It is true that
Christians do have direct access to God. They only need to go through Christ as their Mediator. I can, through the work of the Holy Spirit, understand the Word of God for myself. However, God created the church as His redemptive agent in the world. He has a purpose for the church. God places every member in a church to accomplish His redemptive purposes through that church. So, though each believer has direct access to God and is personally accountable for himself to God; we each, nevertheless, have a connection to one another and a responsibility for one another in the body of Christ. Rather than being independent, God has made us mutually interdependent.
Therefore, what God is doing in and through the church is essential to my knowing how to respond to Him. Where I see Him working in the church, I need to adjust and put my life there.
In our passage for today, Paul speaks of the church as being the body of Christ. In so doing, he tells us how the church is supposed to function. He shares with us what we might call, "Four Laws of Function" whereby we can each relate to one another so that we can all know and do God’s will.
Law #1: We must each accept our responsibility - vs. 15-16
Each of us has a responsibility within the life of the church. We are to do more than simply come on Sunday and "punch our spiritual time card." We each have a place of responsibility to fulfill and a contribution we can make. Yes, there are certain things all of us are expected to participate in: prayer, worship, evangelism, attendance, giving, etc.; but there are also things that God expects of us that are unique to whom we are. The degree to which we refuse to accept our responsibility within our church will determine the degree to which our church is less than what God can use to carry out His purposes.
’Sez I to myself, as I grumbled and growled, ’I’m sick of my church’, and then how I scowled. ’The members unfriendly, the sermons too long; In fact, it seems that everything’s wrong. I don’t like the singing; the church - a disgrace, For signs of neglect are all over the place. I’ll quit going there, and won’t give a dime: I can make better use of my money and time. Then my conscience sez to me, sez he, "The trouble with you is, you’re too blind to see That your church reflects you, whatever it be. Now come, pray, and serve cheerfully; Stop all your faultfinding and boost it up strong; You’ll find you’ll be happy and proud to belong. Be friendly, be willing, and sing as you work, For churches are not built by members who shirk."
Law #2: We must each accept our limitations - vs. 17-18
While we must each accept our responsibility within the life of the church, at the same time, we must each accept the fact that God did not intend nor equip us to do everything.