Summary: The NT uses several "one another" instructions to explain how the local church is to function & how believers are to interact with one another. Sermon 1 deals with the statement that we are members of one another & what that means for believers & churches
Members of One Another
Message 1 in “One Anothers” series
September 1, 2013
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 12:5
Illus. – After World War II, a group of German students volunteered to help rebuild an English cathedral that had been severely damaged by German bombs. As work progressed, they became concerned about a large statue of Jesus, whose arms were outstretched, beneath which was the inscription: “Come unto Me.” They had particular difficulty trying to restore the hands, which had been completely destroyed. After much discussion, they decided to LET THE HANDS REMAIN MISSING and changed the inscription to: “Christ has no hands but ours.” (John MacArthur Jr.)
The work of Jesus Christ in the world is in the hands of those who belong to Him.
I love the way Casting Crowns puts it in their song, We Are the Body, where the chorus says:
If we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
Yes, the work of Christ in the world is in our hands. But how can the church—a collection of people from varying walks of life and different backgrounds—do the job God has called us to do? Over and over again, the New Testament writers exhort believers to engage in specific activities and attitudes to help local churches function effectively and grow spiritually so that they would be healthy and be able to carry out the church’s biblically mandated tasks.
Frequently these writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, employed a unique word in the Greek language to describe this mutual process. It’s the Greek word allēlōn (Grk: αλλήλων) usually translated as “one another.” This single Greek word, which translates into two words in the English, is used 58 times in the New Testament. Paul utilized it most often, using it 40 of the 58 times it’s found in the New Testament.
Actually, these references make up 23 separate “one another” statements or commands. Over the next weeks, we’re going to look at some of these significant actions or attitudes Christians ought to have toward one another to help build up the local body of Christ in particular and the larger Body of Christ so it can be Christ’s hands in the world.
Let’s begin with the foundational “One Another”: FIRST, THE BIBLE SAYS WE ARE “MEMBERS OF ONE ANOTHER” This statement is found in our text Romans 12:5 where Paul says, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” In Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians Paul used the word body 30 times to illustrate the functioning of the church.
Now go with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, where the concept of being members of a body is explained in detail: This won’t be an exhaustive look at this passage, but note the following:
I. FIRST NOTE THAT PAUL TEACHES THAT THE BODY IS MADE UP OF MANY DIFFERENT MEMBERS – 1 Corinthians 12:14 – “For the body is not one member, but many.”
There are many of us, and we’re all different.
• We’re tall and short; thin and not-so-thin; attractive and plain; some are ACADEMICALLY smart and others are more HANDS-ON smart.
• We also have all kinds of different personalities: Hard charging, laid back, outgoing, or quiet.
• We come from all sorts of backgrounds—lower-, middle-, and upper-class.
• Some of us can sing; some can play instruments; others can teach; some can organize socials; others can fix things at the church; and on and on we could go.
The point is this: God accepts all kinds of people into His kingdom and calls all kinds of people to a local church. Each of us has a UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION to make to our church and we all add our own UNIQUE FLAVORS. We should value EVERYONE God brings into our local church body.
II. THE SECOND THING PAUL TEACHES IN 1 CORINTHIANS 12 IS THAT EACH MEMBER OF THE BODY IS VITALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE PROPER FUNCTIONING OF THE WHOLE BODY – 1 Corinthians 12:15-21 – Let’s look at those verses one by one:
Verses 15-16 – “If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” – You see, the foot and the ear are NOT AS VISIBLE as the hand or the eyes. But Paul reminds us that the foot and the hand are NO LESS IMPORTANT than a hand or an eye.