The Beauty of the Body
Part 2 of 4
The Beauty of the Body of Christ
This morning all over America, over 100,000,000 Americans will do what you are doing right now. They will go to a church service.
Why? Guilt, tradition, habit, etc.
What would be your answer?
(last week) Why we exist? philosophically
(follow the outline)
Underpinnings of the ministry structure that we pursue as a church.
5 benefits of being a part of the Body of Christ
1. It helps me magnify (know and love) God.
"O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together."
You were made to worship. It is an inborn instinct. If you don't worship God, you will worship somehthing. You worship your car, business, boat, wife or husband, self or something.
Jn. 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth."
The Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
These are the only two qualifications for worshiping God in the Bible.
In spirit...talking about the human spirit, the inner person; honestly, from the heart,
Contrasting Samaritan worship with the worship of Judaism
Samaritans only accepted the Pentateuch as coming from God. They lacked knowledge about the fulness of what they were worshiping (4:22). They were enthusiastic, aggressive, excited, faithful, but didn't have the right content. They worshiped in spirit but not in truth.
The Jews were the opposite (4:22b). They had the truth but their hearts were empty.
Paul - For God is my witness , whom I serve (latreuo= worship) with my spirit. (Rom. 1:9)
David - Psalm 103:1 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name."
God doesn't care about the style. He loves diversity.
It is not a matter of being in the right place at the right time, with the right words, the right demeanor, the right clothes, the right formalities, the right activities, the right musical style or the right mood. It's what's on the inside.
2. It helps me to stay motivated as a member.
This is the purpose of membership. It provides care and support when you get down. Anybody get down?!
Rom. 12:4,5 "For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."
NIV "so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Christianity is a relationship, not only to God but also to every other Christian. When you became a believer, you not only belonged to God, but you now belong to every believer. We don't talk about this enough.
The Bible says that belonging demonstrates that I am a true believer.
ill. complex of churches as "home church" See what is playing.
In the NT, there was no such thing as a floating believer. Hopping around from church to church. That would be like Joe Montana saying I want to play football in the national football league but I don't want to be a part of any particular team. Or, I want to be in the US Army, but not a part of any particular platoon.
Only in America do you have floating believers. Throughout history, throughout the world, being a Christian means to be a member of a local church. There was no such thing as a Christian who was not a member of a local church.
ill. I love Jesus, but I don't want to be a member of any particular local church. I'm a member of the invisible church.
There are at least 30 commands in the Scripture that you cannot obey if you do not commit yourself to some local body, a church.
You become a Christian by committing your life to Christ. But, you become a church member by committing yourself to another group of Christians.
Heb. 10:25 "...not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."
One of the purposes of membership is to encourage.
ill. campfire ill. of coals taken from the fire.
I Cor. 12:13
the church is not a business it is a body
the church is not a building it is a body
it is not a club, it is not an institution. It is a body.
Baptism is the symbol of belonging in that body.
Don't put off baptism.
"Pastor , when can I get advertised?" It is an advertisement for Jesus.
How would it be if I said to my wife, "Honey, let's get married but not tell anybody about it!?"
Or, "I'll make vows to you in my heart but not be public about them."
Or "I love you, it's your body (physical existence, not physique) I can't stand."
I Cor. 12:27
There is no such thing as a Christian maverick ("I can just go out into the woods and commune with God") Members of the Body of Christ
v.4 As you grow in your spiritual life, you will begin to discover that you have been entrusted with a divine ability to serve this body, Christ's body.
God makes you a contributing member of the Body.
An ounce of prevention:
How a beautiful body can become ugly.
1. When certain members of the body develop an inferiority complex.
I Cor. 12:15,16
ill. so many gifted and talented, you don't really need me.
ill. working at some of the mundane work, "I don't want to be an ear any more."
"I'm tired of being covered up with hair. I want to be able to wink. I want an out in front spot."
God's sovereignty is at stake here.
I never asked God to make me a pastor. I surrendered with tears, kicking and screaming a little bit.
He may have a behind the scenes role for you.
v.19 the beauty of the body
It takes a great deal of spiritual maturity to work behind the scenes. You don't work for the approval of men.
I'm a foot, Praise the Lord.
Don't let the evil one make your attitude ugly concerning the service you are rendering to the Lord in this place.
2. When some members develop a Superiority Complex
Air of superiority...
Elders, staff, deacons, teachers...
We have to take great pains to make sure that we don't give off any airs of superiority. We are not better or worse, greater or less than anyone else. We will be judged by our faithfulness, others will be judged by theirs.
Visibility does not mean higher standing.
It can turn a beautiful body into an ugly body real fast.
3. Spectator Complex
this is a real crippler
it makes the body spasmodic, it can be fatal to the body
ill. eat and run; eat on Sundays to be spiritually satiated.
"Too often people join church as consumers. If they like the product they stay; if they don't they leave. They can no more imagine a church disciplining them than they could a store that sells them goods disciplining them. It is not the place of the seller to discipline the consumer. And in our churches we have a consumer mentality."
ill. "Love this church..."
respond by, "How do you demonstrate your love?"
give your life in service as Jesus did!
If people eat and run, they make a beautiful body ugly.
one person on the team not carrying their weight can demoralize the entire team. The committed start to feel "if you don't want to play ball, get off the team."
Better to have 300 committed than 3000 who aren't committed.
A beautiful body can become ugly relatively quickly.
The opposite is also true.
As some around here strain, sacrifice, to abound in the work of the Lord. It is contagious. That sacrificial effort spreads throughout the entire Body.
Stuff that makes churches beautiful.
Let's not eat and run
We don't know how much time we have.
I want to go all out for Christ. I pray more for some because I know how far above and beyond the call of duty they have gone.
"Lord, show me where to serve!!"
3. It helps me develop spiritual maturity .
Heb. 6:1 "...let us press on to maturity..."
Paul - "Grow in grace and in the knowledge...
There are four levels of learning
4 levels of learning:
1. Knowledge - I know the content and the stories of the Bible
Important! We must know the stories, but that is not enough.
2. Perspective - you build on the stories, perspective. Which is knowing the beliefs, the doctrines, the basic teachings.
3. Conviction - You learn to internalize God's value system.
An opinion is something you will argue about.
A conviction is something you will die for.
4. Application - (Highest level of learning) When you become a doer of the Word. You make the Bible personal and practical. Most of our teaching and preaching focuses here. Because a person can have all kinds of knowledge (puffs up) and perspective, but if they don't apply it, the Bible calls that person a Pharisee. One who knows a lot but does not practice a lot.
James - Don't fool yourselves by merely hearing the Word. Do what the Word says.
We want to equip you to learn to love to do the Word of God.
We want to give you the knowledge and conviction and help you apply it in such a way that you are loving God's Word and doing it in every day life.
4. It helps me discover and develop my ministry.
You have a deep psychological need to feel like you are making a contribution with your life. That you didn't just take up space, eat food and breathe air and leave pollution after you died.
read Eph. 2:10
I Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
Special abilities, given by God, (why?) to be sure to make a lot of money. No.
Be what God made you to be. Do what God wants you to do. This is it!!
We are here to help position you for success.
A Christian without a ministry is a contradiction. Because God made you for a purpose.
5. Helps me fulfill my mission in life.
Every Christian is to have a ministry through their church and a mission in the world. The moment you became a believer God gave you a mission in life.
Acts 20 ...life is worth nothing unless I use it in telling others about Jesus.
"Who did you bring with you...?"
Eph. 2:19 "...fellow citizens with the saints, and are of god's household,"
There are many good churches in Olathe. Pray that God will lead you to the one that He wants you to be apart of. Once that is true, then commit to it. Don't just be an attender, become a member. Don't just be a spectator, be a participant. It is your duty to find a church that you will be committed to. You cannot be committed to Christ and not be committed to a church family.