Summary: This is a message on the church that shows how the body is used as a methaphor to describe the function of the church.
THE CHURCH AS A BODY
TEXT: I Corinthians 12:12-31 W. Max Alderman
INTRODUCTION: There are different metaphors that are used to describe the Church. The Church has been called the Bride of Christ and here it is referred to as the body. When one thinks of the church as being a body, one should also think of how his own body works and how all of it parts are connected. When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he used simple illustrations to show how the church is designed to operate. What we are studying tonight is the operation manual for the church. This manual is God’s Word. May we now learn more about the way God’s church operates.
I. THE WAY THAT THE CHURCH IS CONNECTED (Vv. 12-14).
A. We Are Connected Spiritually (Vv. 12-13)
What makes the church uniquely different from common organizations is that the church is an organism. The Organic part that makes the church strong is Christ. It is by His Spirit that we find strength. He is not to be left out or placed “in a corner”. Instead, He IS the Chief Corner Stone. We stand and lean on Him. The Chief Corner Stone in early architecture was necessary to provide a reference point for the building to have “level and plumb”. If the chief corner stone had neither, then likely the building would have neither of those qualities, as well. The Word of God is what gives us our “level and plumb”…
B. We Are Connected Functionally (Vv. 14; cf. v.28)
In a way that pleases our heavenly Father, God so structured the church. We as we view our own bodies should recognize that every part has great importance. When we think of the church helpers with the helps that they provide, there are those who turn the lights on, who pick up the trash, who sweep the parking lots and cut the grass. Someone so graciously place a cup of cool water for the preacher to sip on (for which I am so grateful). Then there is the mighty band of nursery workers who faithfully takes care of our treasured children. There are the greeters who make our guests feel welcome and the ushers who take care of the congregational needs. Thank God for the singers, the teachers, those who go on visitation, and those who type the bulletins and count the offerings. There are those who make sure that the vehicles are in good repair and that everything is working mechanically…
When there is a death, there are always those who help with the meals and encourage the bereaved. These are just a few ways that our church is made up of different parts while serving a great purpose as we all function together.
II.THE WAY THAT THE CHURCH IS CHARACTERIZED. (Vv. 15-24)
A. The Church is characterized by its Different Parts (Vv. 15-23)
As we have already indicated the church has functioning parts that work together in harmony. This harmonic relationship is necessary for the church to maintain its top efficiency. We should not look at our membership in a comparison manner saying as we do that one person is more important than the other. This certainly is not so. The hand does not say that it has no need for the foot or the foot for the hand. We each need each other. God needs us working within the framework of the church under His direction.
B. The Church is Characterized by its Definite Purpose (Vv.22-24)
As we find ourselves fitted within the framework of the church, we should be maturing as we “go on to perfection”. The following is the pattern for defining our purpose: 1. The perfecting of the saints: Observe and learn. Your first priority should be to submit to the teaching of the word of God to learn to be the man or woman God wants you to be. Matthew 11:28-30 (childhood)
2. The work of the ministry: Participate. In time, you will naturally grow to the point where you can begin to serve and take on some basic functions through the already established ministries of your church. (Youth)
3. The edifying of the body of Christ: Lead. As your growth continues, you should reach the point where you can begin to minister to others in the same way you have been ministered to. 2 Timothy 2:2 (adult)(borrowed)
It is important to know that serving God will require sacrificing or giving up some things that your flesh may enjoy doing. Thank God for the faithful workers and volunteers who connect into the family of God, faithfully. The church suffers when this does not happen. Listen to this sad story:
“A Sad Story that can be changed”
Once upon a time, there was a church staff looking for volunteers to teach preschoolers, children and youth. Some adults said, “I don’t want to leave the sweet fellowship and study in my adult class." But the drug pusher on the street said, "Not even the threat of jail will keep me from working with your children."