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Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Body of Christ

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Bearing Fruit Through Suffering

1 Corinthians 10:13 2 Timothy 3:12 John 15:1–11 Revelation 3:19 John 16:33

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Bear Fruit

Philippians 1:6 John 15:1–11 1 Timothy 2:1–4 Ezekiel 36:26–27 James 2:14–17

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20)

John 1:12–13 Matthew 5:11–12 Acts 17:30 Isaiah 41:10 Galatians 5:22–23

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Purpose of Parables

2 Peter 3:16 Mark 4:21–25 John 6:66 John 3:19 John 6:53

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Lucifer, Lunatic, or Lord (Mark 3:7-35)

John 3:16 James 2:19 Exodus 19:20 John 6:26 Mark 3:7–35

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Manuscripts and Blogs
The Body of Christ (pt. 3)
The Body of Christ (pt. 3)

Marc Sims • August 11, 2020

Sermon Video: https://www.facebook.com/107675501997/videos/1095777260816644/?__so__=channel_tab&__rv__=all_videos_card


Sermon Manuscript:

21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – 1 Cor 12:21-27


There is no one more perfect than Jesus. He has never sinned, which means He has never done anything wrong, never thought anything wicked, never desired something that was impure, never acted out of selfish agendas, but always in every circumstance at every minute from all time done what is right. Jesus is very unlike us in this regard.


But, what do you think Jesus thinks about you? As He sits on His throne in Heaven, receiving the praise and adoration of the angels, sovereignly governing the affairs of the world, and His eyes “ablaze with fire” (Rev 1:14-15) turn towards your life…what does He think? What does He think about what you are like in public, around your friends, at work, talking to your kids, when you’re all alone and think no one is watching…? The question is, in a way, unsettling because we realize that much of our life is filled with sin and realizing that all of it is being done before the eyes of a holy God. 


And, as we think about our life we see a lot of sin! What could Jesus possibly think of us? Dane Ortlund, in his fantastic book Gentle and Lowly, asks that question:


“How do you think about Jesus’ attitude toward that dark pocket of your life that only you know? The overdependence on alcohol. The lost temper, time and again. The shady business about your finances. The inveterate people-pleasing that looks to others like niceness but which you know to be fear of man. The entrenched resentment that burst out in behind-the-back accusations. The habitual use of pornography. Who is Jesus, in those moments of spiritual blankness? Not: Who is he once you conquer that sin, but who is he in the midst of it?” p. 91


Ortlund then cites 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” John writes his letter because he wants the church not to sin—sin will bring nothing but misery into your life. But, when we do sin—which we all do—who is Jesus for us? If you have not trusted in and submitted to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, Jesus will be your judge, doling out the precisely perfect, fair and just punishment for your sin. But if you will come to Jesus now and will submit to Him as King, finding forgiveness for your sins in His death and resurrection alone, then what does Jesus become for you? An advocate. What is an advocate? It is someone who stands up to defend another. And John tells us that it is when we sin, not after, not before, but when we sin that Jesus stands up before the Father and defends us. 


Isn’t that amazing? In the midst of your sin, your failure, your compromise, your shame, Jesus not only loves, not only accepts you, but actively defends you! As Satan accuses you before the Father for your sin, Jesus stands and pleads your case. Yes, Marc totally blew it. He was selfish, lazy, insincere. But he has trusted in me and my work on the cross to forgive His sins. Total honesty, no blame-shifting, no excuses. But total acceptance, forgiveness, and pardon because of the great work of our Lord and Savior. Friends, Jesus is not tapping his foot, waiting for you to clean your act up before He will take up your case before the Father. It is in your sin—not after, in your failure—not your success, in your weakness—not your strength, when you are dead to rights guilty and Satan accuses you before the Father as one who is vile and worthy of Hell, that He stands up and says, “I will defend his case.” Why? Because your acceptance before God the Father has nothing to do with your righteousness and everything to do with Jesus’ and the sufficiency of His work. So, you are loved, you are accepted, you are stood up for. That is why the gospel is such good news!


Jesus is not waiting for you to clean yourself up before He will embrace you. Whatever murky bog of sin you have plunged yourself into, whatever pit of addiction, He wades into our filth, into our guilt, and picks us up, washes us, forgives us. Jesus is not worried that you will stain His white robes. Rather, His purity isn’t sullied by our impurity, but His righteousness cleanses us of our unrighteousness and makes us pure, though our sins be as scarlet, He will make them white as snow (Isa 1:18).


Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall themselves be purified. - Spurgeon


Now, that was all just my introduction. Here is the question I want to aim at: what kind of community does that gospel create? We have been discussing for the last few weeks how the gospel does not just create saved individuals, but a saved people: the church. We have been saying that the New Testament expects and requires Christians to be meaningfully attached into a church, the same way a member of a body is attached to the rest of the body. We today call that “membership.” If you are not a member here and would like to know more about it or how to become a member, feel free to talk to me or any of our other pastors here. But today, I want to spend the rest of our time thinking about what this community, the church, should feel like. When we have a group of people who all believe this truth, what does that community look like? 1 Corinthians 12:21-27 tells us that it looks like a community that relies on each other, honors each other, and loves each other.


Relies


21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.


What is this saying? You don’t have it all together. You cannot do the Christian life on your own. There are issues, sins, problems, temptations, trials, tasks, joys, and sorrows in your life that you will not be able to navigate on your own. If you do, you will be like an eye without a hand, or a head without feet. No, you need the whole body to walk through life. We need each part, performing its own unique function, with its unique skills and experiences. Even if we look at some people in the church and think: I don’t need them in my life. I can’t see how they would help me or this church. Paul goes so far to say: those people are actually the most crucial! They are indispensable! What does this mean for us? This means that we practice church membership as a way of identifying who our local body is. Remember, in the metaphor here you as an individual are not the body; the whole church is the body, and you are individually members of it (1 Cor 12:27). Membership is a way that we can identify who those individuals are and is a way to make a commitment to those members. 


There are going to be issues in the church and in your own life that requires the gifting, perspective, and experience those other members have. So rely on each other. Expect other members in this church to serve one another. The gospel has baked into it all the humility we need to realize that we aren’t so impressive and so talented that we don’t need help. 


Honors


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, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body.


As we look at the body and see those individuals in it who are different than we are, we don’t merely realize that we need them, but we honor them. We respect them as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, heirs to the kingdom of God who will one day, with you, be made fully resplendent with glory of the new creation, scrubbed clean of sin, and shining like the stars in the heavens. Lewis tells us, “It is a serious thing…to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship,” (The Weight of Glory). 


Paul tells the Roman church to, “outdo one another in showing honor,” (Rom 12:10). There is Christian competition! We are working hard to go further and further in honoring each other. And when we do this, there are no divisions in the body. There is no such thing as the “elite Christians,” like the Navy Seals. There is no club of important church members who deserve honor, while the regular chumps have to grind it out at the bottom of the ladder. In fact, Paul makes it sound like the weaker you are, the more honor should be shown to you. This means that in the church there should be no superiority, no flippancy with one another, no presumption. We don’t grumble and complain about so-and-so behind their back because they are weaker. We honor them. Consider this verse that Paul applies earlier to divisions in the church in Corinth: “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” 1 Cor 4:7. 


Loves


that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.


What an amazing command. The church relies on one another, honoring each other, avoiding all divisions…why? Because we love one another. We are to have the same care for one another. So, my goal as a member of this church is to aim at caring for all of the other members—not playing favorites or only caring about a few. We are to share such a united beating heart that when one of us suffers, we all suffer; if one member is honored, we all are rejoicing together! We weep and laugh together. 


What does this look like?


This looks like a young married couple with no kids who have been saving up for a vacation to Europe choosing instead to give that money to another couple in the church who are trying to raise money to adopt a little boy from China.


This looks like one couple with several children, weeping with and praying for years for another couple who has struggled with infertility. And this looks like the infertile couple rejoicing through tears when the other couple announces that they are pregnant again.


This looks like inviting that really socially awkward church member regularly over for lunch and game night, not because it is easy or comfortable, but because you are fellow members and are called to honor and love one another.


This looks like church members rallying around another church member in the church when her husband suddenly leaves her, providing her a home to live in and a shoulder to cry on, professional counselors and lawyers in the church providing help that would normally cost thousands of dollars.


This looks like Acts 2:42-47:


42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. 


So friends, here is my encouragement to you: this kind of community does not happen accidentally. It is something that is brought about a group of people who have seen the magnitude of what God has done for them in Christ Jesus in loving them, accepting them, inviting them into the family, despite the fact that they don’t deserve an iota of that kind of love. And now, out of the overflow of that profound love, they now look to others who are different than them, maybe weaker than them, maybe stronger than them, and extend the same kind of love, acceptance, and commitment that they have been given in Jesus Christ. So, brothers and sisters at Quinault: jump in with both feet. Rely on each other, commit to each other, prioritize your relationships with one another. Outdo one another in showing honor. Love one another. Weep with one another. Rejoice with each other.


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The Church in a Postmodern World
The Church in a Postmodern World

Marc Sims • August 05, 2020

In the ancient and classical world, the universe and cosmos were seen to be a fixed, orderly system designed by the Creator. Your task was to discover how your life fit into the cosmic structure, the design that had been divinely given to you. This meant that the “good life” was found in a life of virtue—you conformed your life to submit it to God’s design. With the coming of the age of Enlightenment (modernity) in the 1700’s and the scientific revolution in the 1800’s, the goal of man was no longer to submit himself to the God-given design, but instead was to only submit so far as seemed reasonable to him. God was no longer the final court of appeal, but man’s reason (Descartes) and sense-experience (Locke) became the measuring stick that would prescribe the measure of our consent to God’s design. So, the “good life” was found in a life of rationality—you lived life in accordance with what your reason and sense-experience told you was a good life. 


As the tumultuous and bloody 20th century tumbled forward the West began to move beyond the scientific and rationalistic confidence of modernity. Two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and a whole host of other scandals led the intelligentsia to begin to be skeptical of the Enlightenment’s promises and moved into what is now known as postmodernism.


What is postmodernism? If the classical worldview (or premodernism) said that something was true because God had revealed it to be so, and modernism (or the Enlightenment) said that something was true because our rational faculties and scientific method had determined it to be true, postmodernism says that the concept of universal “truth” itself is suspectThe question for a postmodern isn’t, “What is true?” but rather, “What is true for me or my community?” There is no grand metanarrative of religion or science that can give us absolute truth about morality, identity, or even logic.


In premodernity, truth was revealed.

In modernity, truth was discovered.

In postmodernity, truth is created.


The French existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre, summarized the worldview well in his pithy maxim: “existence precedes essence.” That is, since there is no “essence” (no design) innately given to us at birth by some Creator, we are now free to simply decide what we want our essence to look like; what we want to be “true”, who we want to be, and what we believe is right or wrong is ultimately up to us. And no outside standard can tell us otherwise (unless, of course, we consent to let it do so). This worldview has been immortalized by supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy in his 1992 majority opinion in the Casey vs. Planned Parenthood case: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." Therefore, in the postmodern world, the most important virtue to be pursued is that of self-expression, self-discovery, and self-love. 


Friends, this is omnipresent in our culture today. This is in our children’s movies, our music, our schools, our concept of justice and morality, and our political discourse (on the right and the left). Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be, you have to decide that for yourself, be true to yourself, believe in yourself, love yourself. You, more or less, are an island to yourself—and you will allow different ideas, worldviews, or people into your life so long as they help you on your path of finding/loving/expressing yourself. 


What should a Christian think about this?


Paul warns the Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ,” Col 2:8. He also explains to the Corinthians, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Cor 10:5. So how has the church in the West done in responding to a drift into modernity and postmodernity?


While the church might blanch at the moral relativism of postmodernism, it has in many respects co-opted much of its worldview through its appropriation of pragmatism. What is pragmatism? It is, to put it crudely, a worldview that determines “truth” by whether or not something is deemed to be useful. Whereas philosophers and theologians of yesteryear were committed to reorienting their life and priorities around what they deemed to be universal, inviolable truths that were timeless and unchanging, pragmatists view “truth” to be a more flexible term. “Truth” is determined by something’s cash-value, marketability, functionality, or persuasiveness. Does it get you what you want? Does it work? Then it must be “true.”


Now, of course, this is a dramatically oversimplified perspective on pragmatism. If you crack open your philosophy textbook from college and study John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism or John Dewey’s pragmatism (or *gulp* Rorty’s neopragmatism) you will find a much more nuanced explanation. But most of the pragmatism that is practiced in America today—and especially in the church—is not coming from a disciplined study of philosophy. It is just the byproduct of living in a highly commercialized, market-driven, corporate America that worships the bottom line and hates being told “no”. 


So how has the church fallen prey to this ethos of postmodernism and pragmatism?


1.     By preaching a gospel of self-love, rather than self-denial.

2.     By (functionally) denying the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in conversion, the power of prayer, and the sufficiency of the gospel.

3.     By allowing the priorities and values of secular culture set the church’s priorities and values.

4.     By assuming the Bible doesn’t set guard rails for the church’s methods of ministry. (Asking “what works?” before asking “what does the Bible require?”).

5.     By emphasizing feeling over truth.

6.     By emphasizing technique over virtue.

7.     By ignoring the horrors of Hell and the splendors of Heaven.


In time I hope to write at length on each of these points, coloring each one in with more clarity. But for now we can rest assured that although the world around has been saturated with the fog of postmodernism, God’s truth still stands, and He honors those who will not be conformed to the thinking of this world (Rom 12:2). Though others claim that they are the potters, and “truth” is their clay, we know better. Our true joy and satisfaction is not found in creating our own meaning, but in submitting to the divine design our loving Maker has laid out for us.

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The Body of Christ (pt. 2)
The Body of Christ (pt. 2)

Marc Sims • August 05, 2020

Sermon Video Here: https://www.facebook.com/QuinaultBC/videos/756473018501119/?vh=e&extid=akMAm8Mc7Hgb8E9i


Sermon Manuscript:

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. 13 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.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – 1 Cor 12:12-27


How do you build “community”? Our church’s mission statement is “building a covenant community who worships Christ above all.” But, let’s say you just want a community, ready-made, pop in the microwave and *boom* its done—what do you do? Well, the world teaches us that we can build a community around three things:

1.     Attract people with something entertaining or appealing

a.     Football, book club, wine tasting, etc. “You like this too? So do I!”

2.     Call people to action to some noble cause

a.     Activists, PTA, politics, etc. “This mission is so important that you must join with me…”

3.     Invite people with shared problems for a group of mutual dependence

a.     A.A., support groups, mom Facebook groups, etc. “We all are struggling through the same problems together…”


If you can hit any one of those three, you can create some kind of community together. But here is what this depends one:

1.     You find other people who are like you, who have the same interests as you, the same personality as you, care about the same things, etc.

2.     The commitment of each individual, which is largely dependent on their own comfort.


Is this the kind of community that the gospel creates? Why do all these Christians around the world gather together into these communities called churches—even in circumstances that can make it inconvenient, uncomfortable, even dangerous to do so? Is it because we have created a community like we have seen above? Well, yes and no.


We are attracted by the good news of the gospel and the glory and splendor of our God. God is the most interesting, beautiful, and pure being in the universe and He has the best possible news for mankind. Jesus Christ loves sinners.


If you thought you could earn, demand, and fight your way through life on the basis of your own entitlements and cleverness, but now you find within yourself not light but darkness and denial, not freedom but impasse; if you have shocked yourself with the evil you’re capable of and have given up on yourself in despair, the God of love waits for you with open arms today. – Ray Ortlund. How could you not be attracted to that?


We are given the most noble mission and cause on the planet: go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that Jesus has commanded. Further, we are now called to live a life of holiness, a life that we were originally intended for as image bearers of God. 


And, lastly, we all are far too weak, far too prone to not follow through, far too sinful to try and do this life alone, so we need the support, love, and encouragement of one another.


Attraction, mission, and support. That is a great recipe for a meaningful community. But, here is where the community that the gospel makes is different than the community that the world makes: the community that the world makes relies (1) finding other people who are like you and, (2) the commitment to it is largely decided by the individual. The gospel, on the other hand, creates a community that (1) draws in people from all walks of life, all kinds of personalities, all kinds of cultures, all kinds of nationalities—not just other people who are like you. And (2) the gospel creates a community that calls people to a commitment that is not determined by their comfort level, but by the calling that God has placed on them. It is a calling-based commitment, not a comfort-based commitment.


Unity


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. 13 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. – 1 Cor 12:12-13


This is the passage we considered last week. This passage shows us that when someone becomes a Christian they are not only reconciled to God, but they are then placed in God’s family, the Church, the body of Christ. Last week we looked at what happened when we believed the gospel: (1) we have our sins forgiven and receive the Holy Spirit, (2) we are baptized, and (3) we become a member of a local church. This is what is assumed is what happens to every Christian in the New Testament. It is within the local church that we find the arena to obey so many of the commands of the New Testament. The “one another” commands in the Bible (love one another, pray for one another, be patient with one another, forgive one another…) are not meant to be exercised to some faceless mass of humanity in general, but to real, actual people. It costs nothing to say, “I love my city.” But when you love people in particular, then you are required to actually put that love into practice. In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamozov, he warns about how easy it is to slip into this fantasy of imagining that you love humanity in general, but cannot love actualpersons:


“I love humanity…but…the more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. In my dreams…I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the service of humanity…yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together…As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men; one because he’s too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose.” – Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamozov 


The local church is intended to be the ecosystem in where the commands of love are to be primarily practiced by Christians. We don’t love a theoretical group of people; loving hypothetical people doesn’t require me to change, to bear any one’s burden, to ask for forgiveness. But real, living, breathing people who step on my toes and ask things of me that make me uncomfortable—those are the people I am called to love. 


Diversity


14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.


The unity of the body does not come at the expense of its diversity. The gospel is just too good, God is too glorious, and the danger of hell too serious for us to only welcome other people in who are like us. God commands all people everywhere to repent and believe in the gospel (Acts 17:30), and because belief in the gospel entails becoming a member of that gospel community, the church, this means that churches will be full of a diverse group of people. This is where Paul’s metaphor of the body reveals itself to be so brilliant—each body part is wildly different. A foot is nothing like a eye. Yet, both are vital, integral parts of the same body and share the collective identity of “body.” 


The diversity that Paul is referring to here is primarily a diversity of spiritual gifts (see 1 Cor 12:1-11; 27-31). God has given supernaturally empowered gifts to His people upon their reception of the Holy Spirit, and each of those gifts is very different. For some, it is the gift of teaching, for others it is the gift of administration, for others it is the gift of encouragement. But, since Paul just mentioned right before this that in the body there is Jew and Greek, slave and free (vs. 13), he also is likely thinking about the diversity in ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic class. The body is diverse! And no one is permitted to count themselves unworthy of belonging in the body because they are different. Each member’s own estimation of their usefulness is not the grounds upon which they are a part of the body. Rather, their inclusion in the body is based on the fact that God has made them a part of the body—He has divinely ordained that they be there, with their unique personality, gifting, culture, and status.


What does this mean?


·      Our body should be diverse

o   Pray that our church would reflect our community.

·      Your being here is not an accident—God put you here.

o   Guard your heart against the temptation of thinking that you don’t deserve to be a part of this church because you don’t look like someone else.

·      You are needed

o   21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  - 1 Cor 12:21-22

o   The previous verses warned of someone deeming themselves to be unworthy. This verse warns against one member looking down on another. 

o   But, if the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” then that means that the eye needs the hand. Which means each member is absolutely needed. Put another way, your participation in the life of the church is not, in God’s eyes, optional. If my hand decides to stop cooperating with the body, the whole body suffers. Worse, if my hand decides to sever itself from the body, the whole body will suffer tremendously and will be incapable of fulfilling all of the required tasks—and the hand will soon begin to die.

o   So, what is the verse teaching us? It is assuming that each Christian is meaningfully attached to one another in the body of Christ, the church. This is why our church practices “membership.” Church membership is a way that we are trying to obey what Paul is teaching here about being committed to one another. Most Christians today treat their relationship with church on a comfort-based calling; they attend, participate, and engage to the degree that they feel like it. Similar to how someone might treat a football team, or a fan club. But the church, in the Bible, is described as a family. Which means that we are committed to one another and our commitment doesn’t flow out of our shared interests, but out of our identity as a family. 

o   And this family, bound together by God’s covenant, has been divinely brought together, each member with a specific role, a specific task. 

o   So, friend, you are needed. This is your church and God has brought you here for a reason. Why not begin to pray: God, how might you use me here? What role might I play? 

§  Serving in the nursery

§  Helping set up for Sundays

§  Calling our members who are unable to gather and encourage them

§  Invite new faces over for lunch after church

§  Participating in a small group to help encourage others in their faith

§  Turn that savings account into a gift to help another member who is struggling to make ends meet


The gospel is too glorious, the mission too great, and our need too dire for us to do this alone. So let’s link arms with one another, and walk forward in unity.

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The Body of Christ (pt. 1)
The Body of Christ (pt. 1)

Marc Sims • July 29, 2020

Sermon Audio here: https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/613232-the-body-of-christ


Sermon Manuscript:

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. 13 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.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – 1 Cor 12:12-27



What does the gospel do? When someone believes it, really and truly, what happens to them?


The Bible teaches us that when we come into this world we are naturally self-centered; what matters most to us is our happiness, our goals, our dreams, our priorities. But when God opens our eyes to trust and believe in the gospel, suddenly our center of gravity shifts vertically upward towards God—He is now our highest our priority. Becoming a Christian is not acknowledging that we need God to come into our story, but it is to actually see that we are in His story. We are reconciled with Him and filled with His Holy Spirit to be empowered to live for Him and walk out the role He has apportioned for us in His great narrative. And anyone who is in Christ here today knows what that is like—to find your life suddenly reoriented off of “self” to “God”—this is one of the fundamental aspects of what we call conversion. 


But, here is my question: does the gospel leave you there—receiving the benefits of reconciliation with God and a call to live a holy life…all by yourself? My encouragement to you today is to see that the gospel not only restores your vertical relationship with God, but also establishes your horizontal relationship with God’s people. Or, to put it another way, my aim is for you to see the truth of 1 John 4:20-21, “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen…whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Or, to put it one more way, to be united to Christ is to be united to everyone else who is united to Him. When God saves an individual He does not leave that person as an individual, but brings him or her into the family of God, the Church.


Unity


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. – 1 Cor 12:12


A human body is comprised of many, many different parts, but it all functions together as one collective unity (when I walk all of those hundreds of different body parts work in perfect harmony) and share a collectives identity (I don’t think of my body as a summary list of each appendage, I just think of it as “my body”). So it is with the Body of Christ; we share a collective identity and function together harmoniously as one. Why?


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. – 1 Cor 12:13


We have this remarkable unity because we all have become partakers of the same Spirit. Our unity doesn’t just come from shared interests or cultures or similar places in the socioeconomic bracket. Notice how Paul specifies that Corinthian congregation was comprised of Jews and Greeks, slaves and free. Do you have any idea how much Jews and Greeks hated each other? Do you have any idea how suspicious they were of one another and how culturally distant they were from each other? The animosity between the two of them would have been similar to a Union and Confederate soldier after the Civil War. Or, for a more contemporary example, it would be like the animosity between an illegal immigrant and an American who wants to deport all illegal immigrants. What on earth could possibly bring these two groups of people together into the same church? They have believed the same gospel and have been filled with the same Holy Spirit—though they come from very different cultures and have very different preferences, they now both share the most important thing in common, so they are unified. 


Friends, think of a member here that you know least or maybe don’t get along with that wellNow, think of a friend or family member that you know very well and get along with, but isn’t a Christian. This is teaching us that you actually have a much more significant relationship with that church member than your unsaved neighbor or relative. Why? Because you both have believed the gospel, both been filled with the Holy Spirit, and both have been “baptized into one body.”


Now, what does that mean—in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body? When the New Testament describes someone becoming a Christian, it assumes that multiple things happen simultaneously: (1) you believe the gospel and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (2) you are baptized and (3) you become a member of a church. In Acts 2, after Peter’s sermon, he gives this offer to the listeners, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,”… So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls,” Acts 2:38, 41. Added to what? Added to the church in Jerusalem. Do you see the three cords intertwined together there? (1) Believing the gospel and receiving the Holy Spirit, (2) being baptized, and (3) becoming a part of the church. This is what Paul is referring to here in 1 Corinthians—we have received the Spirit, been baptized, and by our baptism we have been added into the body of Christ, the church. And, of course, to the Church can refer in the Bible to every Christian across space and time—but it most commonly refers to a local congregation (“the church in Corinth…the church at Rome, etc.). Theologians refer to that first understanding of the church as the Universal or Invisible Church (all Christians) and to the second understanding as the Local or Visible Church. But here is the question: is Paul referring to the Universal, Invisible body of Christ when he says the Corinthians were “baptized into one body,” or is he referring to the Local, Visible body of Christ in Corinth? Is Paul assuming that being filled with the Holy Spirit and being baptized means that one is an individual Christian, or does it mean that person is a member of a local church? Now, one cannot be a part of the local church without being a part of the universal church, so the question basically boils down to whether or not Paul is referring to the local church.


As we will look at the rest of the passage we will see that Paul’s reference to being baptized into one body refers, of course, to the universal church, but also to the local church in Corinth.

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