Summary: A sermon on the body of Christ, the church, and how the parts interrelate (Material adapted from Dr. Justin Imel at: http://www.preachinghelps.com/bodilyfunctions.html and seedthoughts from Daniel Overdorf's book, Rediscovering Community, chapter 11)
Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton and, when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Mr. Kaspryzak. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other. After their graduation, they planned to practice law together. No believer is complete by himself, we are to minister to one another, as a family.
Last week we talked about how Paul uses the term “body” especially in 1 Corinthians. About communion, we talked how the term “body” has a double meaning. 1) The physical body of Christ 2) The church as Christ’s body. Remember both in Lord’s Supper
Christ is the head of the church. “And he is the head of the body, the church...” Colossians 1:18, NIV. “He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.” Colossians 2:19, NIV. If a church has fallen limp and lifeless, the members should consider whether they have remained connected to the Head. Good question for us, is Jesus our mascot or our master?
This imagery of the church as a body appears most prominently in Romans 12:4-8 (looked at this last year) and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Corinthians 12:13
Thesis: Talk about a common duty, a common dependency, a common designer, and a common deference
A Common Duty (1 Corinthians 12:27)
This is not specifically stated here but what function do all these body parts have, why do they exist? Why a body? To do their duty and that duty is to obey the commands of the head.
The HS gifts each Christian with talents and abilities and He expects us to use these gifts to contribute to the ministry of the church, to serve the purposes of Christ.
Imagine how the various parts of a human body coordinate to perform even menial tasks. Get a cup of water. To drink this water, my brain needs to send impulses to various muscles. My arm reaches toward the cup, bending properly at shoulder, elbow, and wrist, with all related ligaments, cartilages, muscles, and bones functioning. My fingers grasp the cup with the synchronized mechanical functioning of all parts of my arm, wrists, hand and fingers. I lift the cup to my lips, and my wrist hinges to tilt the cup so that water is poured into my mouth. The water goes across my taste buds telling my brain that it is water. The muscles in my esophagus send the water toward my digestive system, where the stomach might send back a message that the water is cold (too bad it isn’t).
Imagine how the various members of a church coordinate to perform some ministry. Think of all the members involved just to have this worship service on Sunday morning. By the way need some to step us and be greeters for August and September. Need others to coordinate specials for the months of September and November. Need someone to step up and coordinate the Fall Party, Christmas caroling, and the New Year’s Eve Party.
"Christ has no body now but yours No hands, no feet on earth but yours Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world Yours are the hands Yours are the feet Yours are the eyes You are His body"
A Common Dependency (1 Corinthians 12:21)
What Paul says here isn’t exactly true of the physical body, is it? How many people have we known lacked a non essential part of the body- an appendix, an eye, a leg or an arm? Yes, there are people like motivational speaker "Nick" Vujicic (voy-i-chich) who has no arms or legs and he is able to do many things like get married and have a child.
Although our physical bodies can function without certain parts, the body of Christ is not designed that way. Each part depends on every other part to make it whole. In much the same way, Even though Nick has a great attitude and can compensate quite remarkably for the absence of limbs, the fact remains that he is missing arms and legs. No matter how well disabled individuals compensate, no matter how much medical technology and service animals allow them to live full lives, part of their body is missing. Not able to do some things