We Are Christ’s Church
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. – 1 Corinthians 12:12
“…so it is with Christ.” I love that Paul solidifies our definition of “church” from social club status to its infinitely greater, intimate connection to Jesus Christ. There are many parts of a body (head, hands, feet) just like Christ—Christ’s body, the church. Christians are a part of God’s body, so every action we take says something about Jesus. Any thought or desire or direction that the local church and its leaders and members make should be out of the understanding that we are a part of Christ’s body. What a high calling!
Let’s reflect on Sunday’s sermon application of 1 Corinthians 12:12-20. Spoiler alert, doing so will lead you closer to Jesus and further from selfish ambition.
1. If you are in Christ, you are a part of the body of Christ.
Think about the implications of that. I am a part of Christ’s body. This should lead to both ownership, investment and great humility. Owning that part, I should tremble at doing anything to make Christ less. Understanding the light of life found in Christ, I am propelled by the Spirit to invest in Christ’s body. “Christ, take all of me!” The same understanding can only mean great humility knowing the grace on which I now stand. It causes you to say, “Why me?” I am a part of Christ’s body (blood bought, no righteous standing on your own, filled with grace and mercy). What wonder! I am a part of Christ. Therefore, I must check all selfish desires for worldly gain at the door when I think about my part in this body. I should question my motives and weigh them against God’s Word.
Question: Is my church a social club with a nice clubhouse dusted with a little Jesus? Or do I view the church as Christ and base all my desires for her and actions on that belief?
2. You have a God-ordained part to play in the body of Christ.
You are a part. Your part does not consist of the whole. You have a role and it interconnects with others who are also Christ’s. This is the foundation for a diverse body of believers.
And you really have a role to play. God does not ordain useless members. Your role may not include an official title (though there is nothing wrong with church offices). If the church is Christ, and you are a part of Christ’s body, the very unwillingness to invest in the body would be unChristian.
You are Christ’s. Playing your part in His body makes much of Him.
Question: Do I believe that God has gifted me in a way that would be honoring to Christ and helpful for His Church? What is false in me that is preventing me from seeking to surrender my talents to Christ for His body?
3. Every single member of the body is significant.
From wiping down toilet seats, to wiping away the tears of a brother or sister grieving loss, all members of the body have an essential role that the world cannot quantify. Don’t believe me? Open the Word and be awakened to the things that God values. God values those downtrodden who cling to Him. He values little children. He values the meek. God loves the widow who gives her two coins over the vast treasures of kings. He seeks for the one lost sheep out of the other 99 in the fold. He chases after the fools of the world. And God loves desperate sinners over righteous pharisees.
God does not love the things that the world loves!
We must stop using the world’s exchange rate to define the value of our investment and role in the body.
Question: Have I fallen prey to placing value on what only the world might find significant in the body of Christ?
4. We should show the world what the true body of Christ looks like.
If you are in Christ, you are a part of Christ’s body. For, you are no longer your own, bought at a great price.
You have a part in the body and must not neglect it for the glory of Christ among the nations. For, your investment in God’s Church says something to the world about your Jesus.
Your role should never be given a value based on that of the world. For, God values above all else the glory of His name. He is glorified if you are fulfilling your role. Therefore, your role is eternally significant more than you will ever know in this life.
If we keep our focus on Christ and fight off any sinful thought of selfish entitlement to a building or group of people, we will make Christ great.
If we seek to invest in Christ (His body the church), Christ will be made great.
If we view each role in the body with a Spirit-empowered lens, the world will marvel at a people enraptured with Christ over worldly gain.