WE ARE THE CHURCH

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WE ARE THE CHURCH 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

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1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.
In the grand scheme of life, have you ever felt as though you were unimportant or inconsequential? You may have a job that’s not particularly glamourous. Or maybe your job is so small a part of the whole that you don’t feel like you matter much. You just show up because you need that paycheck.
In our world, we tend to rate people by several factors. We assess people by their intellectual level. We assess them by their responsibilities. We rate them by their accomplishments. We rate people by their wealth. We even rate people by their cultural or ethnic background. Wouldn’t it be great if we all thought of each other as equals and treated each other accordingly?
Now, don’t think the Church is exempt from this flaw in character. I’ve seen enough to know that church folk are also guilty of divisions. In fact, this enmity toward one another has always been an issue. The Apostle Paul had to deal with it too. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he pointed out their spiritual blemishes, saying, “For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men?” (1 Cor. 3:3).
You see, the Corinthian Believers were in a low state of development. Their growth in grace was being arrested or prevented by the dominance of jealousy and strife. As a result, personal progress and Church progress were impossible. They were stuck. Individual self-assertion and arrogance led them to treat others as inferior. And because this early church was made up of Jews, Greeks and Romans, consequently, there were envious rivalries and church clicks that sought to crush those who were deemed less important or ‘different’. It certainly wasn’t God’s plan. It was their plan!
WE ARE THE CHURCH
So how does the church set out to build “one body in Christ”?
First, we’ve got to POWER UP.
We can do nothing of ourselves until we are truly saved. Only those who have proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord can be enlightened and directed by the Holy Spirit. The whole grand scheme of God to grow His church is upheld, applied and administered by the Holy Ghost. Paul says, we have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
If your faith is guided by the Holy Ghost, you are ready to be an asset to the body of Christ. But the opposite is also true. We can’t be helpful if we are not saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. We become burdens rather than burden-bearers. We can’t be doers of the word if we have not first come to the realization that Christ is the Word.
If the Church is going to achieve its mandate to spread the gospel through all nations, it’s going to take thousands of blood-bought souls willing to step up and step out for the Master. If we’re going to be “laborers together with God” (1 Cor. 3:9),we need to be empowered by the Holy Ghost. How do I know? Jesus said it. He said, just before His Ascension, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  (Acts 1:8).
When the Church powers up…It’s motivated by the love of God. When the Church powers up…It’s anointed by the Spirit of God. When the church powers up…It's sanctified by the blood of Jesus. It's blessed by the touch of God. Saturated by the joy of God. And directed by the wisdom of God.
We’ve got to POWER UP. (Somebody shout POWER UP!)
Second, we must see each other as equals.(There are no big I’S and little you’s)
Paul says, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” God’s plan for the Church is unique. The church is to be a cohesive unit…ONE BODY…whose members all work together for the spread of the Gospel. Diversity was in God’s plan from the beginning, but not to separate us. Diversity was necessary that each gift might be developed and expressed to its fullest potential.
Paul explains this in chapter twelve. If you read the entire chapter, Paul uses the human body as his example. He points out that the foot can’t do what the hand can do; neither can the eye do what the ear can do. But together, all the parts of the body function as one.
Every member of the body of Christ has a job to do, and each job is essential to the body of Christ for its survival and growth. We are all distinctly different, but we are not separate. We are all redeemed by the same BLOOD. We are all dependent upon the same Head…Christ. We are all bound by the same WORD…to have mutual affection for each other, because LOVE is our common tread.
We may have different services to render to our Master, but all gifts are consecrated to one purpose. There is no need for envy or strife. We all have a mutual obligation to help and not to hinder. I supply what you lack. You supply what I lack.
We see this concept in action within the walls of this sanctuary. Brother and Sister Kerns shows up to open up the church. Lady Diane shows up to lead us in praise and worship. Sister Haskins shows up to educate and inspire our children. The pastor shows up to preach and edify. Each of us supplies the lack of the other. Sister Haskins may not open the church up, but thankfully, she sure knows how to to count your offerings and keep them recorded. Have you ever tried to stay focused on the preached Word when you are concerned about who’s counting the money you gave?
The church can’t establish Christ’s kingdom, reveal Christ’s glory, exemplify Christ’s power, further Christ’s cause, or honor Christ’s Word, if we aren’t all working together. When each of us performs according to our calling…the work of evangelism moves forward like a well-oiled machine. We become the salt of the earth, ready to penetrate the world for Christ, create a thirst in the world for the things of God, and demonstrate the miraculous power of God.
We must see each other as equals. But with different responsibilties. We are on the same team!
Finally, we must all work.
‘’For the body is not one member, but many.” Nobody wants to be a member of a handicapped church. That’s one of the reasons that there’s so much church hopping going on. A handicapped church limps along like a wounded soldier in the army of the Lord. There are talents and gifts missing that are essential to its mission.
The church is handicapped when… There are no missionaries to leave a footprint on the shores of distant lands. The church is handicapped when… There are no evangelists to leave their fingerprints on the door knobs of millions of homes. The church is handicapped when… There are no deacons to minister in the corridors of hospitals and nursing homes. The church is handicapped when… There is no preacher to keep Christ’s pulse beating in the hearts of all who have ears to hear and hearts to believe!
We must all work, if we are going to… Inspire the hopeless to have hope. Encourage the weak to become strong. Revive the discouraged and the desperate. Help the underprivileged and the less fortunate. And proclaim the blessedness of Christ’s love!
We must all work. Work while you have breath in you body!!!
This is the church God needs… For a world at its worst, God needs a church at its best. For a world full of sin, God needs a church full of holiness. For a world full of sadness, God needs a church full of joy. For a world full of darkness, God needs a church full of light. For a world full of hell, God needs a church that points toward heaven. For a world that’s out of tune, God needs a church full of harmony. For a world full of war, God needs a church full of peace. For a world full of defeat, God needs a church full of victory. For a world full of heartache, God needs a church full of hope. For a world that’s ‘playing’, God needs a church that’s praying.
Christ needs a church that can extend… Grace to the guilty. Mercy to the miserable. Forgiveness to the fugitive. Salvation to the sinner. Peace to the perplexed. And blessings to the burdened.
Christ is calling. Will you answer, and be His Church?
We’ve got to POWER UP.
We must see each other as equals.
We must all work.
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