September 10, 2023

Divine Design of the Body


A Sovereign Composition

The body of Christ is a powerful metaphor for the church that relays the wise composition of it's members. God has placed each believer into His body and gifted them in such a way that the church is both a unity of diversity and a community of necessity.

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Sermon Transcript

Well, let’s take our Bibles and turn to First Corinthians Chapter 12 as we continue along in our study of this wonderful letter. Charles Dickens is a familiar name to most of us. He was the 19th century British novelist who wrote such classic works as A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol and the list goes on. Dickens had a fascinating way of weaving a riveting story together against a subtle critique of the historical environment in which he lived. But he was most well-known for his ability to create and depict such lifelike characters that the reader gains kind of a personal relationship, an attachment, to them. Just think of characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge. Or think of Oliver Twist. Think of David Copperfield or Pip from Great Expectations. We all know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but Dickens understood that sometimes the right thousand words can make just the point that a picture can’t. And sometimes just one word can bridge the gap of our understanding of a complicated concept in a way that illustrates it and animates it so that it comes to life and sort of clicks in our minds. And this is exactly what we find in the infinitely creative mind of God revealed in the Scriptures. And this is especially true when it comes to how he describes his church, which, as we noted in our previous study, is very, very precious to him. 

He uses a number of metaphors, or analogies, to help us understand the church, and one such analogy or word picture is the family of God. I love that. John 1:12 says that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ, who believed in his name, are given the right to become the children of God. Romans 8:15 says that believers have received the Spirit as sons by adoption, and we can cry, abba, Father. Ephesians 2:19 and First Timothy 3:15 call the church the household of God, and then over and over and over in our Bibles we see that familiar term, brethren, which is an all-encompassing term, that means brethren and sisteren, right? Or cistern. The church is also referred to in Scripture as a building or a temple. We saw this back in First Corinthians 3, verse 16, where Paul refers to the Corinthians collectively as a temple of God, and then in chapter 6 he says that our individual bodies are temples of God. Ephesians 2:20 and 21 says that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy temple of the Lord. This picture is unique in that the temple in the Old Testament was the place where God’s glory dwelt among his people. But in the New Testament, under the New Covenant, God’s temple is his people. It’s very special. Each of us has the same Spirit, and therefore we’re both individually and corporately the temple of God. That’s profound truth. The New Testament also refers to the church as the bride of Christ. Think of Ephesians 5:22 through 33, where the institution of marriage is compared with that relationship of Christ and his church, and we’re told that really, that relationship is given to us as a wonderful, mysterious picture of that greater relationship. Verses 25 through 26 says, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. And then in Revelation 19, we’re told of the great marriage supper of the lamb, when the whole church is united with Christ in glory. And that word picture uniquely highlights our union with Christ, as all of these do. Romans 7, verse 4 says, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. And then there’s the flock. We’re called the flock of God Acts 20:28, where Paul is giving his farewell address to the Ephesian elders. He charges them: pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. And you remember Peter’s charge to the elders in First Peter chapter 5, verses 1 through 5, he says, shepherd the flock of God which is among you. And in verse 4 he calls the Lord Jesus Christ the Chief Shepherd. And of course, we think back to John Chapter 10, where Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd. Scripture uses other metaphors to describe the church less frequently, but one of my favorites is the branches and the vine from John Chapter 15, a field and crops, as we see in First Corinthians 3, verses 6 through 9, and also a priesthood in First Peter Chapter 2 and verse 5. 

And each of these word pictures, or metaphors, or analogies, gives us a fuller understanding of what the church is. But the one that is most prevalent and probably most familiar, and the one that we talk about the most in the church, is the one we find in this passage. It is the body of Christ. That metaphor is used frequently, and it is perhaps one of, if not the most helpful analogies in understanding the church and how it is composed and how it functions. Ephesians chapter 1, verses 22 through 23 says that God put all things under his [Christ’s] feet and gave him his head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Colossians 1:24 makes a similar statement, and both Ephesians and Colossians speak of the maturity of the church as growth according to a human body. And this picture of the body is helpful because it shows us that the church is not an institution. The church is a living organism made up of the people of God. This building is not a church. Our budget is not the church. You are the church. I am the church as we gather. That’s what makes us special. We are the temple of God wherever we may find ourselves, and we may make use of buildings and budgets, but we are the body of Christ. And if the body of Christ is the most familiar analogy of the church, the passage before us is the most descriptive passage about it. Follow along as I read, beginning in verse 12:

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. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Paul has two main points that he’s driving home with this analogy of the body that illustrate what he’s taught in the first eleven verses of the chapter, and both of these truths hinge on the fact relayed in verses 18 and 24. Notice those again, verse 18: God arranged (or literally placed) the members in the body, each one of them as he chose. And look at verse 24, that second line: But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor, and so forth. So, this whole passage hinges upon this fact that it is God, in his wisdom, who has designed the body the way it is. Hence the title of the sermon this morning: Divine Design of the Body. And the first truth that we find here that Paul wants to drive home about this divine design is that foundational reality that governs this entire section on spiritual gifts. And it is the fact that the church is a unity of diversity. It’s a unity of diversity. I’ve said that many times over the last couple of weeks, because Paul just keeps hammering that home like a well driven nail. And Paul says that just as a human body has many members or parts, so the church is made up of many individuals. And yet, collectively, they are one body, and this unity of diversity is born in our union with Christ. If you were here with us last time, we saw that Paul introduces this metaphor of the church as the body of Christ with this brief explanation of what God did in uniting us to Christ. We saw that it’s Christ who baptizes us, or places us, into the body of Christ through the working of the Spirit. That is a one-time working that happens at our salvation. And now the Spirit of God indwells each and every one of us. You can’t be a Christian without being baptized with the Spirit of God. And this picture of the body shows us that it’s not only union with Christ, but union with his body as well, and the members of the body are made up of one in Christ. We’re all baptized with one and the same Spirit, regardless of our ethnicity, regardless of our socioeconomic status, regardless of male or female, or any other category that we’re divided up by. We all have a common birth in the regenerating work of the Spirit and we’re all indwelt by that one and the same Spirit. And through this explanation, Paul reminds us that our spiritual gifts are inseparably tied to each of us as individuals, so that he begins to speak of us in terms of members of the body. We often forget that he’s talking about spiritual gifts here. And so, he’s kind of drifting from that that terminology, and yet it’s all packed in there. We as individuals are tied together not only by our union with Christ, but also in the wise way that God has gifted us and composed the body. And he speaks of us as members of the body, such as hands and feet and ears and eyes and so forth. And in verse 14 of our passage, Paul states clearly what has already been stated in verse 12, that the body is not one member, but many. Again, he’s driving home this idea that it’s a unity of diversity. And then in verses 15 through 20, he begins to illustrate that fact in kind of an exaggerated way–it’s almost humorous–to drive this point home. Although the body of Christ is universal, remember from our previous study that what he’s speaking about now in this section applies to the local church because the local church is the visible representation of that larger universal body of Christ. And so, he’s moving from that foundational aspect into the functional aspect of the church, and before he does that, though, he’s talking here about just the composition. And he applies the analogy of the body here to the local church. And he says a foot is less visible and less attractive than a hand, but it’s still part of the body. That’s his point, right? Nobody really likes feet (unless you’re a little weird), right? I mean, feet are kind of gross. They’re kind of stinky and most people’s feet aren’t very attractive. And you typically put your feet in a shoe and cover it up, right? At least men do, you know? I’m going to get myself into trouble here. I’m going to stop. I’m going to stop. A person’s feet may not be the spotlight as the hands are, but they’re undoubtedly just as important. Without them, the body is incomplete and weakened, and you think of even toes, right? I mean, you could take this even further. I mean, if you lose your big toe, you’re in big trouble, right? I mean, that’s very important, and likewise an ear is not as noticeable and definitely not as attractive as a person’s eyes. My ears are pretty noticeable, they’re just not very attractive. Some of us have that problem, right? But they’re definitely not as attractive as a person’s eyes. They say the eye is the window to the soul. That’s one of the main things I love about my wife is her beautiful eyes, and their large, and I love those eyes. But it’s attractive–not like the ear. And yet the ear is nonetheless part of the body, and furthermore, if you’re entire body, he says, were a giant eye, not only would that be kind of weird, but you wouldn’t be able to hear anything. So, he’s being humorous here, right? I mean, just imagine if your body was just one giant eye. How would you hear? You know, if it were a giant ear, where would the smelling be and so forth? I remember when we had our first child, he had eyes like mom, and I felt like every child that we had, the eyes just got bigger, you know, and we joked about that, that the next child’s just going to be a giant eye. That that would be odd, that would be weird. We’re thankful that that’s not the case. But Paul’s point is humorous, but it drives the point home, doesn’t it? If you were just a giant eye, how could you hear? And so forth. If you were a giant ear, how would you smell? We get the point, but God in his wisdom has arranged it the way he has. And who are we to argue with? Verse 19 is just as the eye and the ear illustration showed us, if the body of Christ had one member, there would be no body at all. And notice in verse 14, Paul is highlighting the fact that the body is not one member, but many. And now in verse 20 he highlights the fact that there are many parts but one body. So, he’s just driving this home and it all again hinges on that truth in verse 18 that God has arranged, or placed, each member of the body as he sees fit. The church is a unity of diversity. I think we get that. If you haven’t gotten that, I hope you get that driven home this morning. The church is a unity of diversity. 

And now, having illustrated that foundational aspect, now he does move into that functional aspect of the church, and we could put this second point this way: that not only is the church a unity of diversity, but it is a community of necessity, a community of necessity. That’s what he’s teaching us in verses 21 through 26. Every member is necessary, even those members who perform things behind the scenes. And you see how he’s bringing the spiritual giftings into this? Remember that the Corinthians were emphasizing those visible gifts that were kind of spectacular, and there were some people, I think, in the congregation, who were saying, man, I wish I had that gift, you know, I just got the gift of helps, you know. I’m just good at stacking chairs, but I mean, there’s the pastor up there. I wish I had that gift. And there were others who had the flashy or more spectacular gifts who were kind of saying, yeah, I got the better gift. Yeah. Kind of stinks for you. But, you know, maybe you’ll get there someday, right? It was that kind of attitude and the gift that they were really highlighting was the gift of tongues, as we see from the context of this passage. He’s going to spend so much time talking about tongues as he gets to chapter 14 and throughout this, he’s telling us, no God has composed you to need one another. Whether you’re behind the scenes or you’re in the spotlight, everyone is necessary to the whole. Now in the former illustration, the view of members of the body concerning themselves was in view, but now the view is how we view one another. That’s the issue in those former verses. If, you know, we viewed ourselves as inferior because we don’t have that, well, if everybody had that gift that wouldn’t make a full body. And now this is how we’re viewing others. And again, our sinful tendency is to lift ourselves up with pride, whether we think too lowly of ourselves or too highly of ourselves. You may have never thought about that before, but if you think too lowly of yourself, who are you still thinking about? Yourself, right? And so, it’s just another form of pride. And so, we have to remember that. As we’ve learned, if you know Christ and you’re commanded by God to consider yourself or think of yourself as one who is dead to sin and alive to God, to die, to yourself. To think of others as more important than yourself. I want to show you something. Turn back to Romans Chapter 12 with me. Another passage that deals with spiritual gifts and this idea of the body, not in near as much detail. But what’s very interesting is that, you know, verses 1 through 2 are very familiar to us, but look at verse 3 as he begins to talk about spiritual gifts. He says, for by the grace given to me, I say to every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. What’s he talking about? He’s talking about God’s placing of you in his wisdom, wherever you are in his body. So don’t think too highly of yourself, and, you know, the inverse of that would be, don’t think too lowly of yourself. Take a sober assessment. Verse 4: for as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we though many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them, right? So, take a sober assessment and use your gifts, and we could fill in the blank here in verse 7 of First Corinthians 12: for the common good. Not to lift yourself up. Not to be bummed out because you got the short end of the stick. But stop thinking about yourself and start using whatever God has given you for the good of the body. 

Those in the body who have gifts which are more visible or often tempted to think too highly and others are thinking too lowly, and Paul is going to straighten all of that out. He says, although the hands are visible and more attractive than the feet, the eyes are possibly the most attractive part of the body and the eye can’t say to the hand, I have no need of you, okay? The eye can’t say to the hand, there’s no need of you. That would not be a body. And again, if the whole body were an eye, it wouldn’t be a body. And although it may be able to see better than 20/20, it would not be able to do a whole lot without the hand. And so, Paul is just correcting our understanding here. He says we need each other. And we can’t say, I have no need of you. He gives another example of the head saying to the feet that he has no need of you–and I just want to note here that in other passages we’re told that Christ is the head of the church, and he’s not talking about Christ here (just to be clear), he’s just talking about the analogy of a body–So, you think about the head of the body saying to the feet, I have no need of you. He’s not bringing Christ into the mix. He’s saying, obviously, those who have the more visible gifts that are the eye, the head and so forth can’t say to the other parts that are less visible, I have no need of you. That’s clear from the illustration. And why? Because the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. 

Note that in verse 22: those parts that seem to appear weaker to us are indispensable. In fact, Paul goes on to say there that on those parts of the body that we think less honorable, we bestow the greater honor, and our presentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require, but God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, which our more presentable parts do not require. And again, Paul’s point is clear: that there are parts of us that we leave uncovered that we’re happy to show off, right? Our more presentable parts; and then there are parts that we cover up that we don’t want people to see. And there are even parts of our body that are covered up by that largest organ we have, which is our skin, right? Think about all of those muscles and all of your skeletal structure and all of those things that are covered, and yet you need each and every one of those for your functioning. I remember as a young man working in mine and then in the trades and I would have older men come up to me, all kind of bent over and they’d say, young man, take care of your feet and your back, you know. And I was kind of young and dumb back then and I thought, well, I don’t know what they’re talking about, right? But I never thought of my feet and my back as very important. You know, my hands are important. My face is important; those kind of things. But of course, those are the things that are indispensable for us, and those older men had learned that over time, as they felt the consequences of not taking care of those, not prizing those. And Paul says, no, each and every one of these parts is necessary. And God even puts more prominence on some of those that are behind the scenes than those that are out front. It’s the same in the body of Christ as with the physical body. 

You know, a good way to test whether you’re following this is to see how you answer the question, Who is the most critical part of our church? You know, I would imagine most of you would probably say, uh, Pastor–Pastor Lloyd, right? That would probably be a knee jerk reaction, but I’m not the most important person here. There’s nobody who’s most important here. We’re all important. Each and every one of us, that’s what Paul is teaching–each and every one of us. You know, this past Friday we had a funeral here for one of my family members and my family asked if we could use our facility and if I would do the service. And I was just really excited. I’m like, absolutely, we’ll take care of everything. And I’m so excited to say that. And then I’m like, wait a second, what did I just sign up for? And then they start asking me specific questions: Okay, so what about the sermon. Oh, I’ll do that, no problem, you know, I got that. Yeah. What about the order of the service? Yeah, yeah, we’ll work that out. Okay, what about the food? You know, my eyes get kind of big. What about the flowers? And so immediately, I said, I know a lady, right? And I put them in touch with Faye, and Faye and Roger and Linda and my mom and the whole crew got together, and I showed up and everything’s beautiful and decorated. And there’s food. And I was able to do my part, which was the sermon. Now they were behind the scenes. I don’t know if my family even noticed they were around (most of them). And yet that service would have been a total flop without them. And I could stand behind this pulpit and preach the gospel to about a hundred people in this room, many of whom are related to me. What a blessing. What a joy, and how important that is. But I could have never done that without those dear people behind the scenes, taking care of everything else so that everything ran smoothly. I needed a piano player, so I called Arleen: Arleen, could you play the piano? Tony, could you lead the song? You see, we need each other. And that’s just a small little sketch of all the things that we do as the body of Christ, constantly as we gather together. We had a picnic yesterday–all the people that were working behind the scenes and all of those things, we could just name them off, each and every one of us is vital and critical as we serve one another. There was another brother that showed up to that service, just to be there. And that meant the world to me. When I saw him as I stood up here preaching, feeling a little inadequate, a little nervous to be up here as Little Lloyd, as they call me (because my dad’s name is Lloyd), preaching to all these people who knew me years ago when I was a kid, you know? And I see that brother and I’m strengthened because he’s here. He’s here for me. You see, those gifts are indispensable, and that’s the point. And again, this is the wisdom of God. We wouldn’t do it this way. What did Jesus say? What does the world do? Well, they try to elevate themselves, right? They try to Lord it over each other. They try to climb the ladder. Who’s at the top? Who’s making the most money? Who’s got the biggest status? And that’s the world that the Corinthians were coming from, and brothers and sisters, that’s the world we come from because that’s just the human heart manifesting itself. And Paul says, no, we don’t do it like that. This is the wisdom of God. 

Look again at verse 24: God has so composed the body. That’s a really cool word–different word than verse 18. A different word. It’s like arranging together. It’s almost like making a symphony. God is composing this wonderful thing that just all works together and weaves together. And it’s his wisdom to give greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. Notice this verse. If one member suffers, all suffer together. If one member’s honored, all rejoice together. Think about your physical body, right? It was about a year or two ago–you may notice that I don’t wear a wedding ring–I used to, but now I have one burned onto my finger because about a year and a half ago or so, I was working on a car battery with my left hand, with a wrench in the hand, and I had it on the terminal and I touched the wrench to something metal and it arced on my ring, and immediately my ring started burning me. Well, I didn’t know what happened, right? I just know I’m in pain, and so my whole body comes to the rescue here, right? Everything becomes about my finger and the first thing that happened is my mouth screamed for my wife, right? And my legs started running around. And my mind started going in circles trying to figure out what’s going on so that my feet would know where to run. And finally, it connected and I ran to the sink and I put the water on. My hand turned on the water spout for me. You see, whenever we hurt ourselves, our body just comes to the rescue. I mean, that’s the biggest deal going on. It’s the same thing here in the body, Paul says. Look, we’re so connected to one another that when one of us is suffering, we suffer together. We care for one another. We come around that brother or sister. And listen, this is the tangible love of God that is being expressed through his people. If you ever question whether you should do something, do it because you’re part of the body of Christ. Be wise about it. Sometimes, you know, people try to be too helpful and they start opening their mouths, saying things that aren’t helpful. But think about Job’s friends. I mean, the one thing that his friends did correctly was they came and they sat for a long time. And then they opened their mouths and what they said was dumb. But just being there, just being there. Just sitting there. Just sending that text. Just a quick phone call. Just dropping something by. Just something to say, hey, I’m with you. I love you. We’re going to get through this together. The brother that came to the service on Friday, I said, man, thanks so much for being here. That meant so much to me. And he said, well, we’re all family, right? We’re all family. 

You see, God has so composed the body that we’re interdependent upon one another, and it goes both ways. He says not just when we suffer, but when we rejoice. And I think sometimes it’s easier to come around the brother or sister when they’re suffering than it is to rejoice with them. Because what happens then? Our envy tends to kick in, right? You know, when one of our brothers or sisters is blessed with something, we should just rally around them with excitement. We should just be right there along with them. We should send them a card and say, man, I’m so happy for that promotion you got. I’m so thrilled that you were blessed in such and such a way. And we should share in the joy with them. Because here’s the thing, brothers and sisters, their pain is our pain. And their joy is our joy. That’s how united we are. Because it’s not about them and us, it’s about them and us in Christ, united in him. And so, we are interdependent upon one another. There’s such a necessity that we serve one another, however God has gifted us. And we embrace one another, whether we’re in pain or whether we’re in joy. And why is that? Because we’re one. 

Well, this word picture of the church, the body of Christ is rich. It doesn’t need a whole lot of in-depth exposition here, it’s just a wonderful illustration of how this is supposed to work. Were a unity of diversity, people from every tribe and tongue and nation, social status, gender were all one in Christ. We’ve all been given a variety of gifts, but the one and the same Spirit, and God has called us together to make one body, placed into that body by one and the same Spirit, indwelt by the one and the same Spirit, who manifests his working among us. And by the way, let me just say that the fallacy of the charismatic movement is just what the Corinthians did: you have to have some flashy gift in order to be important. No, no, no, no, no. God, in his composition has said we’re all important and that flashy gift (speaking in tongues) is not the only manifestation of the Spirit. Look at verse 7: to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit. The variety of gifts. Those stinky feet are just as much a manifestation as those beautiful eyes. The person behind the scenes watching the babies, cleaning up vomit, making the coffee, directing cars in the parking lot, making a phone call, writing a card. They’re just as important as the one doing those spectacular things. I didn’t say it. God says it right here, very clearly, multiple times. Each one of us is necessary. We’re not just a unity of diversity, but we’re necessary so that the body works together. 

And what’s the point of all this? Why is it necessary? It’s so that we all grow up together into Christ. Turn over to Ephesians, Chapter 4. This is the whole point. And Paul’s going to make this point in the larger section as we get to it. But here it’s kind of a condensed version of it, and in Ephesians Chapter 4 he does highlight those teaching gifts because it’s the word of God that drives the body. But it’s so–in verse 12–so that the body will be built up for the work of the ministry, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the son of God to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. You see, we don’t grow the way that God intends unless we’re here, exercising our spiritual gifts for the good of others and receiving the gifts of others for our own good. I grow because I’m with you, and you grow because you’re with me. That’s the way God has composed the body: for the common good. There’s no spiritual gift that’s been given for personal edification. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it again in the future. There is no gift that’s given for personal edification. Verse 7 is clear. It’s given for the common good. We need each other because God has composed the body this way, so that we will grow up into Christ together. 

Now, with all that in mind, let me just ask you a few questions: Are you being active as part of the body by fellowshipping regularly in your local church that you’ve committed to? Are you here, and are you not just here, but are you engaged in fellowship? Are you reaching out to other people? Do you have a heart of service? By the way, if you don’t know what your spiritual gift is, that’s fine. Few Christians do. God just says, humble yourself and serve others. So, look for the need. Look for the person that’s up against the wall that no one’s talking to and go talk to them. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something. Are you using your spiritual gifts that you know that you have, or at least making yourself available to do that, as I said? Are you reaching out to others that are struggling or rejoicing. And are you offering them your service or your congratulations? You see, these sorts of questions are what we have to ask ourselves as we think about this passage. We can’t just say, Oh yeah, that’s neat: the body of Christ, and move on. We need to ask ourselves these questions and we need to begin to move toward one another if we’re not already doing so. If you’re part of the body of Christ, we need you. And if this is your church home, we need you more than ever. You’re necessary to the body. Let’s bow together. 

Father, we thank you for your great wisdom and the way that you have composed your body. Thank you for this local church that is a visible manifestation of that larger body. And you have called us together in this place at this time, and you’ve called these particular people here to be part of this body and to work together, to grow together in Christ. We’re necessary to one another. Not one is more important than the other. Oh Lord, would you drive these truths home in our hearts? Would you help us to stop thinking like the world? Help us to stop thinking like ourselves, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds and start thinking like you. To live in community with one another in a way that glorifies you and causes us to grow up into Christ–into full maturity so that we would be unified and stable, and mature. We ask all of this in Jesus’ great and glorious name, Amen.