Summary: Seven Blessings in being called to be a part of the Body of Christ.
How do you feel about your body? Strange question for a sermon, isn’t it? Most of us would rather not think about our bodies and if we do we probably don’t think of them very highly. It’s too fat or too skinny, too short or too tall. Bumpy, lumpy or just plain ugly -- kind of like the guy who was so ugly when he was a kid that his parents took him everywhere they went so they wouldn’t have to kiss him good bye. That’s how we think about it. So it’s pretty amazing that when Paul reached out to find a metaphor to adequately describe the church of Jesus Christ -- the one he came back to time and time again was that of the human body. He says in 1 Corinthians 12, "The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ....we have all been baptized into Christ’s body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit. Yes, there are many parts, but only one body," and in verse 27 he says, "Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it." Look around you; each one of you makes up a part of the body of Christ. Just as God put together our physical bodies together in our mothers womb’s, so He put us together as the Body of Christ!
In the Epistles of the NT, Paul makes over 30 references to the body of Christ. What we do often is to skip over things like that without really taking the time to think about it. We all know what a body is, we all occupy one every day, but do we really take time to look at how these vessels of flesh and blood that we live in are a living illustration of what the Church is Jesus Christ is meant to be like?
According to the Bible, the church is not an organization or an institution, it’s an organism - ever growing and becoming. It’s not a community group -- It’s a whole new community, with a new order, with new values, very often in sharp conflict with the values of the surrounding society. By one and the same Spirit, God has called us to be "one body in Christ." Let’s look at SEVEN BLESSINGS in WHAT WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO IN BELONGING TO THE BODY OF CHRIST:
As members of His body at Our Savior we have been called to... 1. Share in the promises in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6) "..through the gospel...(we) are heirs...members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." NIV Very often we go through life and we don’t even begin to realize the blessings that we have! It says in 2 Cor 1:20 "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes " in Christ." All of the promises of God are "yes" to us in Christ Jesus. God said His yes to us, when in love He sent His Son to be one of us -- and as our substitute to die our death with the wrath of God the Father heaped upon Him. And because the Father accepted His sacrifice for us, we know ourselves to be forgiven and redeemed -- bought back to Himself. We are made co-heirs together with Christ of God’s eternal kingdom. We are given a peace that passes all understanding. Because of the promises that come to me because of His resurrection, and if something happens to me today, I know that when my eyes close in death within the twinkling of an eye I’ll be in the presence of Jesus my Savior. Because of that promise I can have the courage to forget what is past, put my hands to the present, face the future because I trust in Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know His promise is that though whatever circumstances that come my way I’m in the Master’s hand who will not let me go and that He’ll use them to build my faith. He’s my strength and my shield, my mighty fortress in times of trouble. Through His Word and Sacraments, He promises to keep me in the one true faith. Wow!! Those are just some of the promises that cause us to come together not just for the weekend worship services – but throughout each week and to join in doing what God has called us to do together! We are sharer’s together in those promises and all of the other promises we have from God to us.
He’s called us to... 2. Hope (Ephesians 4:4) "...you were called to one hope when you were called" NIV What a hope we have! What is hope? The Bible says that "...faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." In our language hope is a verb, but in Greek in this verse it’s a noun. Some people put their hope in their education. Some put hope in their health. Some put hope for security in wealth–that’s their anchor. But they may just have an experience similar to that of the ship, the Marine Electric, which sank off the coast of Virginia early in 1983, costing the lives of thirty-one sailors. The reason was this: the ship’s eight-ton anchor came loose and battered the hull of the ship until the ship went down. The vessel was destroyed by its own anchor. If wealth is your anchor, it may destroy you. If health is your anchor you may get sunk at your next doctor’s visit. Our hope in Christ is the only unfailing anchor for the soul. There is a natural hope and a spiritual hope. "Of that natural hope, Omar Khayyam said, "It is like snow in the desert." But of our spiritual hope, Hebrews 6:19 says it is "an anchor for the soul." As believers in Christ we’re called to the one hope of our calling -- that is, to eternal life in God’s kingdom. It’s the rock solid assurance of no matter what the future has in store for us and that God is the owner of all things, the Lord of history -- that God is in charge!