Summary: The Church is described as the Body of Christ to stress the connections that we all have to one another, as well as our response to the direction of the head, Jesus Christ.
For the next several weeks I’m going to be preaching a series of messages called “A God’s Eye View of the Church.” In these sermons we’re going to be taking an up close and personal look at what God wants the church to be, and hopefully an honest appraisal of who we really are. Now I want to be up front with you right now, my view isn’t unbiased. I won’t even claim to be an unprejudiced person. I love the church. I love being with church people. I love the music, well, most of it. I love the chance to study the Bible with others who really want to know what it says. I love to pray with people who are amazed and excited that God listens to us. I love having friends that I can tease with and cry with and laugh with and get angry with and through all that know that we love one another because of the deep bond we have through Jesus Christ. In a world filled with superficial relationships, I am excited about the deep fellowship that comes from being one in Christ. I love the church from the depth of my being. A couple of weeks ago the BCHS Girls soccer team came into the basement of our building to watch some game film. I let them in, and a couple of the girls walked in and said, “This place smells like a church.” I guess I never thought about it, but I love that smell! What I’m trying to say is that when I preach about the church, I’m preaching about something that is very near and dear to my heart.
But I hope to not just get into the pulpit and gush about how wonderful the church is. In the weeks to come, we’re going to look at the church through God’s eyes. We’ll examine the metaphors that God inspired the Biblical writers to use as they described the church. If you read through the New Testament, you will find that Jesus often referred to his followers as “The Kingdom of God.” Other places we are referred to in many terms that make us recognize that God expects us to be a family. On a couple of occasions the church is referred to as “the bride of Christ.” This morning we are going to examine one of Paul’s favorite descriptions, the church as “The Body of Christ.” Each of these descriptions tells us some very important messages about who we are and what we are to be like.
Now I want to prepare you a little. Just because I love the church so much, don’t expect this to be a several week infomercial about how great the church is. My wife loves me, but if you ask her if I have any faults she can identify 1 or 2. As we compare ourselves to the ideal that God has called us to be, we all need to wear some protective gear. I’m guessing that all of our toes will be sore by the time we recognize all that God wants us to be, and realize what we really are.
So let’s get started with a passage where Paul tells us that the church is “The Body of Christ.”
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Those are great words that give us some really important insights into what the church is supposed to be. Honestly there could be an entire series of sermons just out of that passage. Paul points out that those of us who know Jesus as our Lord are a body of believers, many people who have various gifts and talents. We are all important in our roles as part of the body. But there is a bigger issue that we can’t miss. When we are Christians, members of the Body of Christ, we are
1. Connected To the Rest of the Body.
The main idea Paul is trying to get across in these verses is that in Christ we all have functions to perform. Every person is a part of the body, some are hands, some are feet, some are eyes and others ears. The body of Christ is made up of different people with different gifts and talents. Some of us can speak and teach, but we couldn’t sing if our life depended on it. Others can sing but they can’t cook a meal to help someone without passing along a bad case of botulism. Some are great leaders, but they are slobs and somebody needs to be around to clean up their messes. What Paul is saying is that we need each other in the body of Christ because on our own none of us is complete. As John Donne said, “No man is an island.”
We live in a society where individualism is cherished, but that is a dangerous thing about our culture. We are not complete in and of ourselves. Nobody gets the complete package they need to be everything they could be on their own. We need someone to hold us accountable. We need other people to encourage us when we are down and to discipline us when we get a little too full of ourselves. To use Paul’s idea, you might be an eye and an eye is a great thing to be, but if you don’t have some feet the view is going to get pretty boring. (Pause)