Posted on 10/09/2005 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning, and welcome.
As always, this message is being recorded so those who come in later or have to relog can hear the message from the beginning and won't miss anything.
Please hold all your questions and comments until after the service. Please click the pulpit in front of me for a notecard. You'll be able to see the message outline, take notes, and write down any questions or thoughts you'd like to share after the service during our time of fellowship and discussion.
After the message, we will have a time of fellowship and open discussion, and hope all of you can stay and join us. For those listening at another location, if it is between 11:20am and 12:30pm Second Life time, please join us in Vine. Just instant message Benjamin Psaltery for a teleport.
Today's time of fellowship is very important, because we all need to hear from one another, so that, in bringing the wisdom and creativity God has placed inside of you to the table so to speak, together we can truly make a difference.
The title of my message this morning is "You Belong." If you've ever wondered if you belong, you're about to find out you most certainly do. If you've ever wondered WHERE you belong, perhaps the Holy Spirit will illuminate that within your heart during this morning's message or perhaps during the discussion afterwards.
But first, let's go to the Lord together in prayer.
Lord God, we come to you this morning in the name of your Son, the Lamb who was slain for us, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Thank you for bringing us all here together, for we know that you've brought us here this morning for a purpose.
Speak to us this morning. And touch our hearts so we can listen, hear what you're saying to us, and let it become a part of us.
Touch the hurting among us this morning, bring rest to the weary, peace to those in turmoil, joy to those in sorrow, and love to those who are empty and need your arms to embrace them.
It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Let's read this morning from the book of first Corinthians, the twelth chapter, beginning with the twelth verse:
"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
"The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
"And now I will show you the most excellent way."
I would like to bring out five points from this passage, and then we can talk together about it.
1. We are all part of one body.
We tend to get distracted by a label many of us wear which says, "I'm part of something more genuine and true than what you're part of." We proudly boast, "I'm a Baptist," "I'm a Methodist," I'm a Catholic," "I'm a Charismatic," "I'm Non-Denominational," and we completely forget that those of us who abide in the Vine Christ Jesus are all CHRISTIANS.
We are all part of ONE body, the body of Christ, and it's vital we realize that and treat one another at all times as important, vital parts of that body, just as we treat our own body, and that we always build one another up and help one another grow and become strong and healthy, as we all follow the same head, Christ Jesus our Lord.
If your pet elephant steps on your foot, your whole body suffers. It's the same with us. "If one member suffers, then the whole body suffers with it." Your decisions do not only affect you, they affect the whole body. Your suffering does not only affect you, it affects the whole body. If you are living under the weight of depression, sickness, and oppression, it does not only affect you, it affects the whole body because we are one.
And the solution is NOT amputation, but restoration. The answer is not to be removed, but to be healed. God has a purpose for you, and it is not to be cut off and cast aside. You are part of the body, and your life affects the rest of the body. Draw life from the Head, Jesus, and you and those around you will be healed.
2. You are important.
Suppose we said, "That big toe just keeps getting stubbed. It's obviously in the way. Let's just get rid of it." It wouldn't be long before we want that toe back, because we would be amazed how difficult it is to walk without it.
Suppose we said, "That butt of mine is always giving me grief, it simply refuses to slim down, it's an embarrasment and keeps me from wearing that outfit I used to love wearing way back when." We wouldn't last long without it, and would be very sorrowful that we could no longer sit down and rest.
It is the same with each one of us. Even if we think we're just a worthless patch of skin somewhere that has no real purpose or calling and who is not needed by anyone, think again. If you were not part of the body, there would be a miserable hole where you should be. You are VITAL to the body, or God would not have put you here. YOU allow the rest of the body to operate as the Head, Jesus, leads, and the rest of the body allows YOU to operate as the Lord leads you. We are all one unit, inseperable, and YOU are a vital part of us.
3. You have a unique purpose
Have you ever said, thought, or felt, "So-and-so has such an awesome function in the body, I wish I could be like and function like them!" But keep in mind that God knew what he was doing when he put this body together, and just maybe he didn't want his body to have two noses or six eyes.
You have a unique purpose. God has ordained that you fill a spot that only you can fill, in the way that only you can fill it. God has gifted you with special giftings, special talents, and special ways about you that nobody else can have. Don't look at others and think they are better or more important than you. You are VERY important to the body, and you have a unique purpose that only you can fill.
4. We must live in unity
Suppose the right foot and left foot could not decide exactly which direction to go, or how fast to get there. And suppose the leggs and knees had yet other ideas of their own. The result would be that we would not be able to walk, or it would be very slow, painful, and would not get us anywhere.
And yet we, as the body of Christ, are all too often bickering, disputing, thinking our section of the body is in some way superior; we're all too often trying to walk in different directions, and apparently not listening to the Head, Jesus, who will lead us all to work perfectly together for a common purpose and toward a common goal.
And this is what it all boils down to: if we're following our own ideas and our own mental reasoning, or even our own hearts, we will inevidably miss at least some of what the Head, Jesus, is telling us. Our own mind and emotions are so strong that if we start to listen to them, we will begin to confused their voice and the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we will find ourselves out of harmony with the rest of the body.
On the other hand, if we empty ourselves of ourselves, daily read, believe, and obey his Word, and spend time in his presence humbling ourselves and listening for his voice and learning to feel his heart, we will begin to work together, all of us, and the Body of Christ, being Jesus in the earth, will begin to see the sick healed, the broken in spirit revived and restored, and the dead raised to life. Where Jesus is, there is life, love, and transformation. Let's learn to follow Jesus without hesitation or question, and follow those he has placed in authority here on earth, and then we will begin to see great and amazing things as each of us finds his or her place in the Body, and begins to fulfil his or her function and purpose in each one's unique and beautiful way.
And my final point is this:
5. We must walk together in love
In John 13:35 Jesus tells us, "This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." If the world does not see that we are different, what motivation will they have to become like us and follow who we follow? If we bicker and fight, if we are ununited and disjointed, if we are denomonated and divided, if we cannot even agree upon which way we're going, how we're getting there, and whether we even need one another, how will they ever see and find Jesus?
This is one reason Jesus gave us a new commandment in John 13:34 when he says to us, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. And this is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."
At the end of our passage speaking of the body of Christ, we read, "And now I will show you the most excellent way." The next chapter, 1 Corinthians chapter 13, is called the "Love Chapter." It teaches us that if we do every good thing imaginable but do not walk in love, it is worthless.
Let's end by reading from that chapter, thinking of how we can apply this love one to another.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I have to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it does not keep a record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
"Love never fails.
"But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know partially; but then I will know fully, even as I am fully known.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Lord Jesus, thank you for making each one of us important, each one of us special, and for giving each one of us a very important place in your body. May the seeds of your word find fertile soil in each of us hearing this message, or reading the transcript. May they grow into trees of righteousness, as we become firmly planted beside the living streams of your Holy Spirit.
Guide our discussion, and help us come to a new understanding of what it means to walk together in unity as one body, the Body of Christ.
It's in the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
If you have not yet become a part of the Body of Christ, if you have not yet surrendered your life to Jesus, today is the day to make that decision. " 2 Corinthians 6:2 tells us, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time, behold, TODAY is the day of salvation."
There is no reason to wait one more moment to find that peace, joy, and to fill that emptiness inside so you are finally whole and complete. Jesus said, "Those who come to me, I will certainly not cast away." and "Behold, I stand at your heart's door and knock. If you will hear my voice and open the door to me, I will come in to your heart, and will feast with you, and together we will rejoice."
Open your heart's door today and find what you've been looking for. Pray this prayer with me, and mean it in your heart: "Jesus, ... I want to be part of your family. ... Please forgive all my sins ... and make me a brand new creation ... give me a brand new start. ... Come into my life now Jesus ... and be the Lord of my life. ... I've done things my own way long enough ... now I agree to do things your way, ... because you love me ... and know how to make my life beautiful. ... Fill me with your Holy Spirit ... so I will have the power to do what's right. ... Thank you for dying for me ... and spilling your blood to wash away my sins. ... Thank you for rising from the grave ... so I can have a brand new life, ... a brand new start. ... Amen."
If you've prayed that prayer for the first time, or if you have rededicated your life to Jesus, please let us know. If you're listening by audio at another time or location, please instant message Benjamin Psaltery or Mariposa Psaltery. If you're listening or reading from the livingsounds.org website, please contact us using the contact form, or call us at 540-830-2971.
Now let's go next door to the fellowship room, get to know one another a little better, and discuss together how we can better walk in unity, and how we can each find the place God has ordained for us in his body.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Amen.