Summary: This sermons draws out the similarities between a human body and the Body of Christ (the Church).
The Church is a living body . . . the body of Christ.
Upon close examination, we find that the Church shares many characteristics with the physical human body.
I. A BODY IS UNITED.
A. The members of a healthy body work together to accomplish things.
1. The brain sends commands to the tendons and muscles, which cause the hand to contract its fingers around a glass and lift the glass to the mouth.
2. This kind of coordinated effort means that individuals are willing to become a part of something bigger than themselves.
B. Members receive benefit from the shared (symbiotic) relationship (I Cor. 12:21).
Members achieve their individual goals better, while being in relationship with the other members of the body
II. A LIVING BODY GROWS AND LEARNS.
A. The objective is to become all that we can be, so as to accomplish all that God wants to accomplish through us.
B. Every member grows and learns.
1. The muscles, arms, tongue of a child gain agility.
2. We learn to be better persons (neighbors, wives and husbands, employed, employers, students, citizens).
C. The Church itself grows and learns.
1. The growth and learning of the individual members must be incorporated into the body structure of the church. This ensures that not only is there individual growth but body growth.
2. Every member is in a process of individual development and the Church as a body is in a process of corporate development.
III. A LIVING BODY HAS PERSONALITY.
A. The Church has its own values, beliefs, norms and vision.
In organizational development circles, this is called the "corporate culture."
The Church of Jesus Christ also has a culture . . . one that has been revealed to us in the NT Scriptures.
B. Whatever may be the precise wording in a church’s statement of purpose, if it is at all a church patterned after the NT, it will include such things as...
1. Making disciples.
2. Preparing Christian leaders.
3. Building up the body of Christ.
4. Evangelizing the lost and multiplying churches.
C. As a body, we not only know WHO we are, we also know who are NOT with us.
1. An individual who separates himself from the body soon ceases to be a part of that body (I John 2:19).
[Note always true ... i.e. when someone moves away or back to their home country, etc.].
2. Those who are unwilling to hold to the culture of the body, also lose the privilege of being a part of that body (II John 1:9).
IV. A LIVING BODY ES OPEN TO ITS ENVIRONMENT.
A. Elements of the environment are constantly entering the physical body.
1. We breathe in pieces of dust and floating particles.
2. The water we drink is teeming with invisible crawlies and wigglies.
3. As we eat, we are deliberately introducing a foreign element into our bodies.
B. Being open to the environment means . . .
1. Being sensitive to the community that surrounds us.
2. Being invitational in our approach to everyone who comes into contact with us.
3. It means deliberately reaching out and introducing new elements into our body.
C. This requires patience and tolerance.
1. People who are different.
2. Ideas that are different.
3. Personalities that are different.
4. Methods that are different.
D. A living body that is not open to its environment will stagnate and die.
V. A LIVING BODY HAS AN INMUNE SYSTEM.
A. Occasionally an intruder will invade the body: bacteria, a virus, other organisms (parasites).
[My experience with an individual who threatened the life of the small cell that we were trying to form.]
B. This is an attack on the integrity and health of the body and the body must defend itself.
1. The Church struggles to incorporate new members into its vision, purpose and values.
2. If these are not well defined, the potential for alien invasion is even greater.
C. For every invading element that comes into the body, there exist three options.
1. Be expelled from the body (coughing, sneezing, vomiting, etc. are all means that the human body uses to expel harmful elements).
2. Become a parasite living off the body, while at the same time weakening it and endangering its health. Parasites only seek their own benefit and not the benefit of the body.
3. In some cases, these dangerous elements can be transformed and then incorporated into the body as a healthy member.
A. The Church is not a machine or a business enterprise. It is a living organism. It is the bodily presence of Jesus Christ on earth.
1. We must guard the precious unity of the Church.
2. We must grow, learn and extend ourselves both personally and corporately, so that the church of tomorrow is greater and more glorious than that church of today.