We ARE the Body of Christ
Early Monday morning I received a call from a woman I do not know, Lavern. I still haven’t met her face to face but she is one of us…a Christian. She needed a gas stove so I sent out her need on an email distribution list I maintain for local needs.
A year or so ago I helped a family load up a rental truck here in town. They had lost their house and had to move. One thing we loaded was a gas stove that the man said he wanted to keep to bless someone else with who might need it down the line.
I had forgotten all about that but he is on this distribution list and contacted me yesterday afternoon. If all goes well sometime this weekend that lady will have a functioning gas stove again.
This is all a testimony to how the Lord works through His body when it functions as a unit.
The body of Christ communicated some needs in December and, as a team, it met those needs. Someone in the body of Christ testified about this to some people. One heard it and when she heard about someone else’s need (also a Christian) that person communicated it to me…I communicated it to you (local distribution list only because of the nature of the need) and the body of Christ responded.
The Holy Spirit, through Paul, used the imagery of a human body to describe the way the Church was designed to operate. Our physical bodies have communication lines all through them (nervous system) that, if they work properly, pass information along from the head to the various parts.
The Bible is clear when it teaches that all the parts of the body are equally important but that the head of the body of Christ is Jesus (Ephesians 4:15, 5:23; 1 Corinthians 12:14-24). When these parts get the communication they need they are empowered to perform the tasks for which they are designed. Then they are free to obey the commands from the head or to disobey them.
When body parts fail to obey the commands of the brain we consider this to be a physical disorder or a disease. When this happens there often is a ripple effect through the body…as other parts are thrown out of order or even learn to also disobey the brain (1 Corinthians 14:25-26).The situation is no different for the body of Christ.
In contrast, when body parts operate in conjunction with the brain….with the head….we call this harmony and well-being in the human body. We often take this for granted but it is really a celebration of the Creator’s work when the human body functions normally. This situation is also no different for the body of Christ.
The little true story I told above about the body of Christ functioning well to meet needs turns out, then, to be a picture of the body of Christ at work as God designed it.
I believe we can learn a few things from this story.
We, as Christians, are all connected to the head, (Jesus).
We, as Christians, really are also all connected to one another (even if we have little or no sensation of this) (1 Corinthians 12:27).
When we listen to the head (Jesus) directly or through someone chosen by Him to speak – if only for a situation – and do what He says, we get to function as a normal part of the body of Christ.
When we do this, a blessing from the throne of God flows through the head (Jesus) and through us and flows on to whomever He chooses to bless.
When we obey Jesus, the head of the body of Christ, others in the body of Christ can learn the joys of obedience to God and His design….by observing us. This motivates others to do things all for the King that may be difficult at times. It helps them be obedient.
It is important to find those things that block the messages from Jesus to us….and eliminate them so the communication can be clear and unimpeded. Things like unforgiveness, walking after the flesh, bitterness, grudges, selfishness – these have to go.
It is important for us to realize that there are no parts of the body of Christ that are less than any others. This also means that none (except Jesus, the head) is more important than any other parts. This addresses the common problems of low self esteem and also spiritual hero worship. Each part is important, equally valuable and has been set in place by the Lord Himself. Each part is either functioning as designed or not – which is dependant upon equipping and obedience.
It is important that we identify and utilize as fully as possible those people in whom God has placed the various gifts and talents that He has supplied for the building of His Kingdom. To fail to do so would amount to wasting tools provided by God Himself. How can we hope to accomplish His will while rejecting what he supplies in order to do it? (We can’t.)
It is important for the body of Christ to function as a whole body wherever we are. This means that people in Christian circles that you might not normally associate with are part of Christ’s body in any given place and, therefore, are important to His intentions for that place. It would be good to know these other crucial body parts and cooperate with them.
When we cooperate with the head of the body of Christ (Jesus) someone on the earth will experience something in the natural that will bless him. So will everyone else who participated in the process. When this happens it is not simply a matter of someone getting a stove that works or money for their electricity or a donated car; it truly represents a live, current, perfectly timed connection between heaven and earth. It’s like a gift that God in heaven personally hands from Christian to Christian and finally to someone on the earth.
I began this piece as a simple follow-up to a request for a stove for a lady in Decatur, TX. As I wrote it, I was impressed to share what I am seeing.
The experience I have received from being a part of God meeting many physical as well as spiritual needs in this past year has given me a tangible sense of being a part of something eternal and important. I have come to see that we aren’t just easing someone’s anxiety here by blessing people with some material things.
God is building a Kingdom on the earth. He IS doing this. Starting early in His earthly ministry Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand (Matthew 4:17). In fact, read Matthew slowly sometime and see how often Jesus speaks of the Kingdom He came to establish.
God’s Kingdom is about the establishment of His order on the earth. God manifests His Kingdom through people who yield themselves to Him and participate with Him in this.
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
The Greek word translated here as “fellowship” is “koinonia”. It means that we are in “partnership with” Jesus Who is about the work of His Father, which is to bring his Kingdom to the earth. He does this through people.
I received an image a few years ago about how this Kingdom is built. In that image each part was a person who was like a puzzle piece. As the puzzle pieces came into their perfect placements a picture of the Kingdom of God in that place emerged. Then I was taken back and could see that the puzzle that was coming together in any given place was itself a puzzle piece.
Two would be joined to others and a small group of Christians would be joined to another group that was designed to be joined to the piece that was the body of Christ in, say, a town. This piece was designed to be a part of the Kingdom of God in an area which was part of the Kingdom in a state. In turn, this was part of the Kingdom of God in a region which was a part of God’s Kingdom in the nation. Meanwhile the same thing was happening in places that didn’t have states like we have in the USA.
Each single person, then, is a part of God’s plan for His Kingdom on the earth. All of this starts in heaven….and flows to the earth.
“So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.’” (Luke 11:2)
Let’s not miss this: each single person that we touch by the direction of Jesus, the head, then….is a potential part of that kingdom. This is a LOT bigger than making sure that someone who needs a stove…..gets a stove.
We are literally being used to build the Kingdom of God….if we will cooperate with the head of the body of Christ. This is why every time I hand over donated money or things I say the same thing: “Look at what God has done for you today. He loves you, you know.”
God deserves the credit because it is by His Word that we do these things and it is for His purposes.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them; those who are mistreated; since you yourselves are in the body also.” (Hebrews 12:28-13:3)
May you be encouraged with this word to seek first His Kingdom and your place in it. May you be encouraged to fully populate your place in His Kingdom and enjoy all the joys and sorrows of that awesome gift.
Today is the day to decide: will you play your part in the building of God’s Kingdom or will you just be a spectator?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© December 30, 2008
(For use with permission)