“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?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
These church members focused on the gifted rather than the gifter. The result was pride and jealousy and division in the church. Paul’s view viewed the individuals as inconsequential and “mere men”. The only focus is not the individual but the One (God) causing the growth.
God will reward each individual according to their own faithful labor but the glory for the growth goes solely to God. No one has any occasion for pride. No one has any occasion for inferiority. Just as God determined to allow human credit for salvation, He designed the growth of the body so no individual could take credit.
It is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Several “one another” commands related to the mutual or interdependence God designed in the body. Again, He designed the body this way so as to eliminate division and to promote equal care.
“HAVE THE SAME CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER”
The health of one affects the health of all.
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. 1 Corinthians 12:24-25
We should care about each member of the body with the same care. Practically, this seems an impossible expectation. We are a hero, celebrity glorifying culture. Our culture dedicates whole magazines to the glorification of celebrities; actors & athletes. Our glorification stems from a focus on their talent and gifts rather than their character. We may even excuse or overlook character dysfunctions because of their talent. It seems at times to be no different in the body of Christ. We celebrate the seemingly successful ministries and overlook the seemingly insignificant. Every preacher wants to pastor a thriving mega church. The focus is the three “B’s”; Bodies, Bucks and Buildings.
The point is all members are valuable and necessary to the body of Christ. We cannot afford to ignore or cut off body parts. It is true, as in the physical body, you can still function without certain parts but it will never function as well as when all parts perform their God-designed function.
Root of the word translated “care” means to "draw in different directions, distract"
It was used in reference to deep concern for another’s welfare to the point of distraction.
It was also translated “worry” or “anxious”.
But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; Luke 10:41
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philip 4:6
casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Timothy demonstrated this kind of care for the church.
But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:19-21
“BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS”
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3
When we are aware of how God has designed the body to function:
There is no room for boasting -- we need each other.
There is no room for challenging -- we are individually gifted.
There is no place for envy -- all have a particular place in the body.
In this context, a brother becomes ensnared by ANY sin. The rescue team springs into action made up of those who are reborn, directed by the Spirit, and walking by His power.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Heb 12:15
This word refers to anything pressing on one or makes demands on ones resources. The word was often used to emphasize the heaviness of the burden. It refers to weakness of faults of personality, faith, habits, physical afflictions, illness, hunger, beatings, jail, spiritual and mental pressures, sins, fears, perplexity, anxiety, loneliness.
This is a general term used to signify the act of carrying a weight. The command given here indicates that we are to be involved in carrying the burdens of others while they carry burdens of mine.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME." Romans 15:1-3
This bearing of burdens includes COMFORT.
Therefore encourage each other with these words. 1Th 4:18
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2Co 1:1-7
This bearing may include financial assistance.
The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. Act 11:29
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Phi 4:16
He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Eph 4:28
The word bear appears shortly after this verse in Galatians.
But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. Galatians 6:4-5
It is a different word indicating a burden that cannot be borne by someone else. It refers to those things that are our personal responsibility before God. These responsibilities must be borne by individuals. We cannot obey God for someone else. We cannot perform for someone else. We cannot change for someone else. God instructs us to help one another with the heaviness of life. Making right choices fall on individuals through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“SHOW HOSPITALITY TO ONE ANOTHER”
Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1 Peter 4:9
contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Romans 12:13
The word comes from two words “lover of strangers”. The context during that time had to do with a responsibility to care for traveling teachers and those displaced by persecution.
For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Hebrews 10:34
Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Hebrews 13:1-3
God considered this practice as evidence of godly character.
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 1 Tim3:2
Care for widows having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 1 Timothy 5:10
“ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER”
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
…encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
We spent time just recently unpacking this essential ministry to each other. The Greek word is translated several different ways. Comfort, help, encourage, admonish. It comes from the same root that describes the role of the Holy Spirit. It means one called alongside to help in time of need. Just as we are to bear one another’s burdens we are to utilize deeds and words that build up the other members. The human body illustrates this well. When an infection or foreign agent attacks the body, a whole series of events goes into motion. All the systems of the body join to engage the intruder. Each part of the body serves the rest of the body.
The body is healthy when we…
Promote and preserve unity
Strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:12-14
Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-14
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Jam 5:13-15