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Summary: I believe today the church is more divided than at any time since the day of Pentecost when she had her birth. This is a sickness, and the patient is close to terminal!

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If I were allowed to be the one to make the choice of what the church, the entire body of Christ, should have as the main focus, I would choose surgery – reconstructive surgery to put the body back in a healing mode.

I believe today the church is more divided than at any time since the day of Pentecost when she had her birth. This is a sickness, and the patient is close to terminal! I believe it is time for the people of God to climb-up on the gurney at Heaven’s Hospital, and be wheeled into the Great Physician’s operating room. And my prayer is that He would place the pacemaker of team spirit and humility in His bride!

In a special feature on the DVD of the movie The Natural, baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. talks about his view of success. Even though he is one of the greatest individual players in baseball history, what mattered most to him was succeeding as a team. In the interview, he says: "I’d much rather be referred to not as an individually great player, or someone who tore up the record books, but someone who came to the ball park and said: ’Okay, I’m here. I want to play. What can I do to help us win today?’"

A lot of people ask, "What is your greatest play—your greatest accomplishment?" I say, "I caught the last out of the World Series." It wasn’t a great catch—I didn’t dive, I didn’t do a cartwheel and throw the guy out at first base. People’s mouths didn’t drop open on the play. We all want to be part of something bigger. But we all have our little jobs that we have to do as a member of a team. Everybody has their individual responsibilities, but they all have to come together for a main goal, and that’s to win. I’ve had great years when we haven’t won, and they have not been really fulfilling. I’ve had not-so-great years, but we’ve had a good success as a team, and they were more fulfilling. So the most fulfilling moment I could ever have, again, was catching the last out of the World Series—knowing WE did it!

Cal Ripken was one of the best players ever to put on the uniform, and at the same time humble enough to be a team player. That is what the church needs. [1]

I want to frame this morning’s message in the language of “the team”; four vital realities about playing on Jesus’ team, the church. This message is based on the text of First Corinthians, but could very easily be preached from the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. His message to them was almost identical.

Reality #1. We’re Connected to Each Other

1 Corinthians 12:12-17 12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?


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