Summary: This is the last message in the series of messages exploring the nature and function of the church.
“HEALTHY BODY Part 6” “Critically Connected”
We have been exploring the three essential principles of how God designed the body of Christ to function.
The principle of diversity
The principle of unity
The principle of mutuality
We have so far considered specific relational commands associated with those principles.
PROMOTE AND PRESERVE UNITY
The Holy Spirit both describes and prescribes unity in the body of Christ.
There is essential unity by reason of our connection to the same head; Jesus.
There is practical unity by reason of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
“LOVE ONE ANOTHER” (Don’t be indifferent to one another)
“RECEIVE AND GREET ONE ANOTHER” (Don’t reject or ignore one another)
“DO GOOD AND BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER”
“AGREE AND LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ONE ANOTHER”
“HONOR ONE ANOTHER”
“FORBEAR AND FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER”
“DON’T JUDGE ONE ANOTHER”
“DON’T BE EMBITTERED AGAINST ONE ANOTHER”
“DON’T PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER”
“DON’T LIE TO ONE ANOTHER”
The second principle of the body has to do with diversity.
We are not all the same.
The body is not one member, but many. 1 Corinthians 12:14
But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. 1 Corinthians 12:18-20
“TEACH ONE ANOTHER”
“ADMONISH ONE ANOTHER”
“ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER”
“BUILD ONE ANOTHER”
“SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER”
“SERVE ONE ANOTHER WITH YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTING”
The third principle of a fully functioning and healthy body is MUTUALITY.
God not only unifies us in Christ as one body under one head, but He has place every follower of Jesus Christ in unique place within that body with diverse gifts intended to be used to serve the whole. There are no self-serving members in our body. Each member of our body supports the other members with their specific role and function.
Paul clearly taught that we are not only unified in Christ and carry out diverse roles but that those roles are critical to the whole; Unity, Diversity, Mutuality.
God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as HE wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:18-27
EVERY part is essential to the whole; even those parts that seem insignificant. Notice the words used concerning the seemingly insignificant roles. Need, indispensable or necessary, greater honor, equal concern, part of the body. Notice the architect! God has “combined, comingled, assimilated, mixed” the members of the body. This leaves no room for pride or inferiority or jealousy in the body. Serve where God has you.
No one is of lesser importance. Everyone has a contribution essential to the whole. Why did God do it that way? Paul makes it crystal clear.
But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
He includes the negative and the positive and positive.
Negatively, that there would be no division. Positively that we would treat every member as essential to the whole. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was all about the issue of divisions in the church. Their division stemmed from a focus on a higher view of certain gifts.
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?