Summary: Many parts of the Body of Christ seem to function as if they have an autoimmune disease, because members fail to recognize one another as parts of the same body, and often end up attacking one another.
Psa 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
When the Church, which is the Body of Christ is functioning the way Jesus designed it to function, it is a wonderful environment to be in. It is an environment where each person is encouraged, supported, protected and nurtured; an environment where there is no backbiting or strife, but where everybody is on one accord, in unity, and where everybody knows beyond any doubt that they are valued and honored and loved by the rest of the body. That’s what the church is supposed to be like; and that’s what it’s supposed to be like right here at CCC.
But in order for any body to be all it’s supposed to be, that body has to be healthy.
ILLUS: When my body is ill, it’s not a pleasant place to be. A few months back I had a bad ear infection and some other things going on in my body. I tried to work through it, but eventually I felt so bad I went to the doctor and got put on antibiotics. It just wasn’t any fun at all going through that time of unhealthiness in my body.
And it’s the same way with the Body of Christ, which is the church. Jesus intended the church to be an environment where we are all having a Ps 133:1 experience. But in many parts of the Body of Christ it’s not that way. In fact, as I look around at the Body of Christ in this city and in this nation, instead of being a healthy environment, many times the church seems to be in the grip of a serious disease.
ILLUS: How many of you know what an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE is? We all know that our bodies have an immune system that protects us from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks itself by mistake, and your body gets sick. Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are some common autoimmune diseases. Well, listen to this: “Autoimmunity is the failure of the body to recognize its own constituent parts as members of itself, which results in an immune response against its own cells and tissues.”
Why am I talking about this? Because it is my observation that many parts of the Body of Christ are functioning as if they have an autoimmune disease. The members fail to recognize one another as parts of the same body, and they often end up attacking one another.
Here in Romans 12, we want to look at some of the issues that can cause a church to behave as if it has an autoimmune disease. And we want to find out what each one of us needs to do in order to insure that the segment of the Body of Christ that we are a part of, in this case, CCC, stays healthy, the way Jesus intends it to be.
So, let’s talk about some things we need to do to have a healthy body.
1. I MUST RECOGNIZE THAT I AM AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
Rom 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
We are ONE Body in Christ. We are many members, but we are all ONE BODY! Even though are individuals, each with our own gifts and calling and place in the body, the bottom line is we are ONE body and ONE family. We are all part of one another.
In order for me to become all that God intends for me to be, and for me to accomplish in life all that God has called me, and ordained me, and anointed me to accomplish for Him, I need the rest of the Body of Christ. I CAN’T MAKE IT WITHOUT YOU … AND YOU CAN’T MAKE IT WITHOUT ME!
And that is why I cannot afford to disregard or not care about the welfare of all of the members of the body.
1 Cor 12:26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
ILLUS: Have you ever accidentally touched a finger to something that was burning hot, like maybe the burner on a stove? When you did, what happened? Probably, your whole body reacted to pull away from that touch.
But what if your arm had said, "I’m tired of pulling this hand up and down. It just keeps getting in one mess after another … if it’s not being burnt by fire, it’s being hit by a hammer; and I’m tired of it! I know that finger is being burnt pretty badly, but I’m not moving; it’s just going to have to take care of itself.”